July 15, 2024

Ewa Skowronska, CEO APCC


The most common cancer amongst South African men, prostate cancer, forms part of a group of cancers that local men received palliative care for in 2023. This is according to the Association of Palliative Care Centres (APCC), a member organisation for South African palliative care service providers.

Melanoma, however, is climbing the cancer statistic ranks, with the 2022 Cancer Registry listing it as the fourth most reported cancer in South Africa. The register shows that the Top 5 Cancers affecting men are prostrate, colorectal, lung, melanoma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (with a 1:6 lifetime risk).

In 2023, the APCC took care of 12,373 male patients (data from around 42 members). Out of these, 463 had prostate cancer, 516 had hypertension, 75 had melanoma and 212 had diabetes. These are all conditions that are not always linked with palliative healthcare but can fall under this umbrella when identified as life-threatening.

Palliative care is the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual care provided by an interdisciplinary team of experts to anyone with a life-threatening illness and their loved ones. Care is offered from the point of diagnosis and extends to bereavement support if needed. Over 90% of the care that APCC members provide is home-based, with a focus on promoting quality of life.


CEO of the APCC, Dr Ewa Skowronska says more South Africans need to be made aware of palliative care and its crucial role during a time of need. “Every opportunity that we get to communicate to people that palliative care is holistic care provided to anyone from the point of diagnosis, is an opportunity that we gratefully seize. The more people who know that they can contact APCC members from their initial diagnosis and be supported throughout their treatment, the more people who can be supported on their cancer journey, be it curative or terminal,” she says.

Submitted: Mango Open Minded Communication

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