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Resignation of breast cancer specialist a severe blow for public healthcare

The resignation of Prof Carol-Ann Benn, a world-renowned breast cancer surgeon, from the Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg is a severe setback for healthcare in this public hospital.

Prof Benn, the founder of the breast clinic at the Hospital, resigned because of the poor conditions under which medical staff must work and the petty, patriarchal management structures, which made it impossible for her to continue her life-saving work.

Prof Benn's resignation has also caused a great number of volunteers at the non-profit Breast Health Foundation to leave the unit.

Prof Benn worked at the Hospital's breast clinic for 17 years.

In the FF Plus's view, prof Benn did invaluable work at the Helen Joseph Hospital, particularly for patients who are unable to afford private medical care.

Urgent attention must be paid to the working conditions and the management structures of public hospitals in Gauteng.

Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers with which South African women are diagnosed.

One out of every 13 white women are diagnosed with breast cancer, while one out of every 81 women of colour are diagnosed with the disease.

The FF Plus wants to encourage all women to go for an annual mammogram to take preventative action and detect any traces of breast cancer in the early stages.

Women older than 40 are especially susceptible for breast cancer.

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