Sister Vlooi Venter scanning Dr Thobile Mbengashe. Picture: Supplied

Port Elizabeth - The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) Care Centre in the Eastern Cape has purchased the province’s first portable FotoFinder mole analyser worth just over R200 000.

This was made possible through the funds raised by the more than 13 000 people who participated in the 2018 Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer. 

A record R500 000 was raised by the 2018 Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer, which was hosted in association with the Eastern Cape Department of Health and the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture.

“This is a powerful new tool in the fight against cancer in the Eastern Cape. According to the World Health Organisation, one in every three cancers diagnosed globally is skin cancer,” said Gavin Kester, CANSA’s divisional manager for the Eastern Cape.

“South Africa has one of the highest monitored ultra violet (UV) levels in the world, resulting in one of the highest skin cancer rates on the planet.

“Skin cancer accounts for one third of all cancers in South Africa and is the cause of about 300 deaths per annum,” he said.

Kester said one of the misperceptions about skin cancer is that people with darker skins were immune. 

“Research in the United States has found that, while black people are less likely than white people to be diagnosed with skin cancer, they are more likely to die from it.   

“That is largely because they are only diagnosed when the skin cancer is at an advanced stage. The FotoFinder analyser will help us to detect warning signs on all skins at an early stage,” said Kester.

Eastern Cape Health Spokesman, Lwandile Sicwetsha thanked all walkers who he said enabled CANSA care centre to buy equipment for screening. 

Sicwetsha said it was hoped that the purchase of this much-needed technology would help CANSA reach more people for screening. 

The portable mole analyser will be used by CANSA for screening throughout the province, including company and government workplaces.

Funds raised through the Big Walk will also be used to give pupils, at Heatherbank Pre-Primary School in Port Elizabeth, the opportunity to develop ball skills.

Walkers raised R50 000 towards building a netball field and to purchase netball hoops and balls.

“There is a clear link between cancer and lifestyle, which includes regular exercise to lower the cancer risk. It is important for children to learn a sport and ball skills at as young an age as possible,” said Algoa FM marketing manager, Toinette Koumpan.

The Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer was recognised as the country’s Best Community Project at the 2018 Liberty Awards.

African News Agency (ANA)