CANSA and Netcare join hands to establish virtual cancer support group

Ongoing COVID-19 pandemic calls for alternative support platforms for those affected by cancer 

Friday, June 25 2021

The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and Netcare today announced that the two organisations have partnered to establish a national virtual cancer support group. 

This support group will be open to all persons impacted by cancer, including newly diagnosed individuals starting their cancer treatment journey, cancer survivors – even those who have been in remission for years – as well as family members and caregivers. 

“The inaugural meeting will take place via Zoom on Saturday, 26 June from 10:00 to 12:00. Persons wishing to join the meeting have to pre-register on to receive the Zoom link to the meeting. They can join either via computer or a mobile device such as a smartphone,” says Gerda Strauss, national head of service at CANSA.

It is currently envisaged that the support group meetings will take place monthly. However, as interest and numbers increase, the format of the meetings may be changed from a national to a regional basis, to keep the groups smaller, which are more personal,” she adds.

“Partnering with Netcare and more specifically with Netcare Cancer Care, which is one of the largest private providers of oncology services in the country, was a no-brainer. Our shared passion for offering a holistic model of care and support to cancer patients on their cancer journey made entering into this partnership an easy decision,” says Gretchen Minnaar, service manager – psycho social support at CANSA.

According to Rowan Robinson, cancer care navigator lead at Netcare Cancer Care, the value of support groups and the meaningful impact they have on the lives of those participating is undeniable. 

“Support groups is one of the ways in which we can empower individuals when they need it the most. The groups also provide a much needed platform where people who are facing similar challenges, fears and treatment side effects can share practical advice, celebrate ‘victories’ when they are told that their cancer is in remission, giving hope to others who are still on their journey, and lend an ear,” Robinson explains.

“Netcare is privileged to be a part of this worthy initiative which resonates with our focus on person centred health and care, and our holistic and participatory approach to cancer care. We believe that it is important to provide individuals with cancer and their loved ones with the knowledge and confidence to make more informed decisions and become participants in their health and care, and to support them throughout their journey” she adds.

In February 2020, CANSA and Netcare announced the establishment of support groups at nine Netcare hospitals, situated across five provinces. Plans for in-person support meetings were however thwarted with COVID-19 spreading throughout South Africa as from the next month, the subsequent lockdown, and the ongoing prevalence of the pandemic. 

“Uncertainty about when in-person support group meetings will be able to resume has left many cancer patients and survivors without the much needed support offered at these gatherings, and we trust that the virtual meetings will provide a practical alternative,” says Robinson.

Different topics of interest to persons affected by cancer will be covered by experts in their fields in the virtual meetings, and there will be opportunity for those who joined to participate, ask questions and share their experiences with, and offer support to, one another. 

The initial meeting will include presentations by the CANSA, Netcare representatives and a cancer survivor and the session allows for networking and discussion by all that will take part. 

Persons wanting to join the virtual support group are welcome to contact Rowan Robinson by email on [email protected] or Gretchen Minnaar on [email protected] or 021 873 6358 for more information.


Notes to editors
ABOUT NETCARE (editor’s notes)
The Netcare Group is a leading provider of private healthcare services in South Africa, providing acute care across a national network of Netcare hospitals and acute mental health services through the Akeso network. The Group also provide emergency medical services through Netcare 911, oncology services through Netcare Cancer Care, primary care through Medicross and renal care services through National Renal Care (NRC), as well as occupational health and wellness services through Netcare Occupational Health and a range of innovative, affordable healthcare products under the NetcarePlus brand.

ABOUT CANSA (editor’s notes)
CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public.  Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support and organisational management; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support.  We offer a Tele Counselling service in seven languages free of charge and we also supply patient care and support in the form of 8 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

Issued by:            MNA on behalf of Netcare 
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Meggan Saville, Estene Lotriet-Vorster and Clementine Forsthofer 
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]