265909 Empowering young adults to reduce cancer stigma in their communities within black townships of South Africa

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 3:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Rebekkah Schear, MIA , Mission, LIVESTRONG (Lance Armstrong Foundation), Austin, TX
In 2007, LIVESTRONG executed a global research study about perceptions of cancer. The data illustrated that stigma is pervasive across countries and cultures. As a result, LIVESTRONG and partner JSI designed an international pilot to illustrate that cancer is survivable; survivors can lead meaningful lives during/after cancer; and to encourage personal and public dialogue. The Cancer Anti-Stigma Initiative, piloted in South Africa and Mexico, is the first national initiative to address cancer stigma. Ultimately, LIVESTRONG will create an adaptable model program for global replication. The pilot has five main components: mass media, special events, community outreach, public relations, and evaluation. As a central activity in South Africa, we launched an educational campaign in three underserved townships in Soweto, Mdantsane, and Khayelitsha. We trained 85 young adult volunteers on basics of cancer, stigma, and survivorship, and over 12 months empowered them to engage in face to face conversations to cultivate knowledge and awareness and confront fears and misconceptions. Pairs of volunteers visited 5-8 households daily according to a skip algorithm, and held in-depth conversations lasting between 15 and 60 minutes with household members. We reached 17,000 households with personalized, detailed cancer information; 45% of respondents to our endline KAP survey exposed to the initiative stated that they “learned something new or did something different regarding cancer.” Empowering young adults to engage in community education can shift public perceptions about the disease. In LMICs where there's a void of cancer information, communities also benefit from talking about cancer in a personalized manner.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe the issue of cancer related stigma globally Explain methodology for national cancer stigma intervention Discuss opportunities for engaging young adults in community education efforts

Keywords: Cancer, Adolescents, International

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee international programs for LIVESTRONG, which includes running national awareness/advocacy programs, building relationships with multilateral organizations, institutions, and NGOs, and developing new evidence-based programs. Over the last 3 years, I took LIVESTRONG’s programmatic vision global with the launch of four pilots in Mexico/South Africa which focus on reducing cancer stigma, empowering cancer survivors to become advocates, and building an international awareness movement placing cancer at the forefront of the world’s public health agenda.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.