Can we use innovative approaches with digital technologies in primary care and primary health to advance early diagnosis of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer in Southern Africa?

Our research aims to answer important questions about how to encourage people to seek help for possible cancer symptoms and how to deliver high-quality, accessible and equitable cancer referral and diagnosis services in lower-level facilities. It will be undertaken mainly in local clinics and secondary health facilities that are the first place that people go for health services in these countries. Studies will include materials in local languages to increase awareness and access to the services.

Our focus will be on cervical and breast cancer in women and colorectal cancer in men and women, as these are common cancers that have relatively easy methods for detection and treatment, especially in the early stages.

We will:

  • Assess the time intervals from symptom awareness to referral and diagnosis and factors influencing these intervals in Zimbabwe and South Africa (SA) (Workstream 1).
  • Develop two electronic tools (e-Tools) that promote more timely presentation and referral: a symptom assessment and management e-Tool for primary care providers and a symptom appraisal and help-seeking e-Tool for the public (Workstream 2)
  • Evaluate the e-Tools to ensure that they are operationally and economically feasible and equitable, socio-culturally acceptable and support timely referral (Workstream 3).

Individual institution pages provide more information about what is happening at each location – click below for details.