Reach for Recovery Breast Cancer Support Group

Area: Gauteng, South Africa
Phone: +27 (0)11 689 1499
Cell: +27 (0)79 745 3557 /+27 (0)83 897 0221
After Hours Number: +27 (0)72 849 2901
Contact Person: Thea Oosthuizen / Sandra Strydom

Reach for Recovery Breast Cancer Support Group

Reach for Recovery was started in 1952 in the USA when Mrs Terese Lasser, a mastectomy patient, realised that not enough was being done for those whose life had changed dramatically after breast cancer. She understood the importance of the role that personal support, by women who had experienced breast cancer, played in helping newly diagnosed women return to their previous life as quickly as possible after their surgery.

Mrs Lasser visited South Africa in 1967 and Reach for Recovery was established shortly afterwards. South Africa was one of the first countries to establish a similar programme to the one that was launched in America.

This programme is now coordinated by the UICC (International Union Against Cancer) based in Geneva, and is known as Reach for Recovery International (RRI).

Reach for Recovery is thus affiliated to Reach for Recovery International (RRI) which is a comprehensive non medical programme created to help women with breast cancer. It is a self help group based on the premise that former breast cancer patients, now physically and emotionally healthy can relate in a unique and positive way to new patients with breast cancer.

There are no charges. Reach for Recovery is a free and voluntary support group. The group’s service is available with her doctor’s approval, or to any women who requests it.

Reach for Recovery receives no state funding. It is registered as a Public Benefit Organisation (P.B.O No 930 011 568) and as a Non-Profit Organisation (N.P.O. 043-723-NPO)

The aim of the Reach for Recovery programme is to supply practical and emotional support to breast cancer patients and their families, to enable them to make relevant personal decisions and to find the motivation for recovery with an optimal quality of life.
This programme, with its carefully chosen, well trained volunteers is approved by the medical professional and promoted by cancer societies world wide.

The services provided by Reach for Recovery are: Visitation:
Volunteers, who are trained breast cancer survivors, visit patients in hospital, either before or after their operation. Emotional and practical support is provided at this time and if necessary at any later stage.

Patients are supplied with a booklet and pamphlets dealing with various topics relevant to breast cancer patients. They receive a soft prosthesis (temporary breast form), a cushion for under arm comfort and a bag to contain the port-au-vac drain.

Monthly or bi-monthly support meetings are held, where topics of interest are discussed.

State Hospitals:
Volunteers attend the breast clinics at state hospitals to offer emotional and practical support.

Permanent prostheses (silicone) are offered to non medical aid patients where funds permit.

Prosthesis Fitting:
Many groups offer a Prosthesis Fitting service.

Breast Cancer Awareness:
Volunteers actively work for breast cancer awareness through talks to encourage breast cancer self examination and outreach programmes into all communities.

Statistics (2006)
Reach for Recovery has:
34 groups throughout South Africa
276 trained volunteers representing all communities
2735 new patients were visited and supported
2527 bags and cushions were made by our sewing groups
3233 temporary prostheses were made
thousands of booklets, pamphlets and leaflets were handed out

If there are any errors in the above information, please notify us via an email to

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