6th Africa WE CAN Breast and Cervical Cancer Advocacy Summit Johannesburg, South Africa (March 15-16, 2019)
Every year more than 2.5 million women are diagnosed with breast and cervical cancer. Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in women worldwide and the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in women. Estimates suggest that 5.8 million women will die from breast cancer alone by 2025—two out of three will be in low-resource settings. Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for women in East Africa, followed by breast cancer. Despite major advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, too often women lack access to essential and timely care, resulting in significant disparities in outcomes. In many communities breast and cervical cancer are shameful conditions and women are afraid to seek medical attention for their symptoms until it is too late.
High mortality rates have been attributed to a lack of awareness regarding the benefits of early detection and early treatment, late stage diagnosis and limited access to care. Advocacy, education, access to treatment and survivor support are integral to addressing the growing burden of women’s cancers worldwide. The Women’s Empowerment Cancer Advocacy Network (WE CAN) was created to embrace, connect and empower women around the world to address these disparities in their communities.
WE CAN supports evidence-based education and fosters capacity building and knowledge transfer in advocacy and outreach to dispel damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer, reduce stigma and improve survivorship. WE CAN summits and regional networks promote regional collaboration and link advocates and survivors to clinicians, policymakers and opportunities. We believe the power of individual survivor advocates is multiplied through supporting regional networks to facilitate the exchange of best practices, build capacity, influence public policy and social norm change and empower women leaders. To date, 16 WE CAN summits and networks have connected hundreds advocates from more than 30 countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America, resulting in increased cancer knowledge, increased engagement of survivors in cancer policy and leadership and new initiatives and collaborations.
The 6th Africa WE CAN Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa will bring together over 80 cancer survivors and advocates from over 10 countries as well as local clinicians and policy makers.
WE CAN South Africa 2019 is being hosted in collaboration with the Cancer Alliance.
The Summit aims to:
Improve knowledge regarding management of advanced breast cancer in Africa
Foster discussion on messaging for HPV vaccine and cervical cancer screening in Africa
Raise awareness about resource-stratified guidelines for breast and cervical cancer
Discuss models for successful patient navigation in Africa
Develop locally-relevant evidence-based advocacy action plans
Strengthen message development and advocacy communication skills
Foster development of alliances and a regional network to facilitate sharing of best practices
WE CAN has been a global network for change since 2003. It is headquartered at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. For more information about WE CAN and the 2019 Summit please contact Allison Dvaladze at email@example.com.
WE CAN Summits are hosted in partnership with regional counterparts, Global Focus on Cancer and the US National Cancer Institute Center for Global Health. They are organized by representatives from the University of Washington Medical Center/Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center and sponsored by various in-country NGOs, medical centers, industry partners and US Embassies.n