headup for cancer


The Cancer Alliance’s new #HeadsUpForCancer campaign is set to target farmers and farmworkers, the community behind one of South Africa’s leading economies but which has been routinely neglected in terms of cancer awareness and care.

Knowledge is critical to risk reduction and addressing the warning signs of early cancer symptoms, and the new advocacy toolkit that is central to the campaign aims to provide this essential education to empower people living and working in farming communities.

The South African agricultural sector represents nearly 70% of the country’s available land, yet the Cancer Alliance recognises that this captive community has enjoyed limited access to information and awareness campaigns thanks to proximity and language constraints.

In adults, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally and kills more people than HIV/AIDS/TB and malaria. The disease is also on the increase in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), largely due to knowledge about risk reduction and the warning signs of early symptoms.  For children however, cancer is a rare disease and to improve the survival rate, more children with cancer need to be diagnosed at early stages and treated by a paediatric oncologists.

“The campaign toolkit is focused on providing important information on some of the most common cancers affecting all South Africans, including skin, prostate, breast, cervical and childhood cancers, along with information on responsible farming,” Cancer Alliance’s Project Manager, Salomé Meyer said.

She added that the toolkit was made possible thanks to funding from global animal health company ZOETIS, and that the Alliance is seeking further support to translate the information into other official languages in order to widen the impact.

“We decided to plough the ZOETIS funding back to the farming community as part of our responsibility towards our partners,” Meyer explained, adding that the #HeadsUpForCancer campaign hopes to connect stakeholders in the farming community, while educating their friends, families and co-workers in order to save lives. It is also an example of true collaboration between like-minded cancer non-profit organisations.


A campaign that helps SA’s farmers and farm workers see the warning signs of cancer to help each other catch it early.
Why did we launch this Campaign? Community is the best place to help spot cancer signs – and we want to encourage that. We drive awareness about cancer and what to do if you feel at risk. We’ve produced six info-based slides on cancer and responsible farming. They will be shared one slide per month following this schedule:

  • Cervical Cancer
  • Childhood Cancer
  • Skin Cancer
  • Responsible Farming
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Breast Cancer