Cancer is a complex, life-threatening disease which affects millions of South Africans. It can be defined as any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division. If not stopped, it may spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system or blood stream
There are over 200 different kinds of cancer. Some cancers are named after the part of the body where the cancer or tumor originates. Some cancers affect areas such as glands or blood, such as lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) and leukemia (cancer of the blood).
One in six South African men and one in seven South African women will get cancer during their lives. Cancer is a great equalizer. It knows no boundaries of class, race and gender, sex or age. It can strike anyone at any time.
And yet, if one takes a look at South African statistics, age, race, gender and socio-economic status play an important part in determining the prevalence of particular cancers.
- Early detection of the condition can lead to effective treatment and a positive prognosis. About 90% of patients survive for many years after diagnosis when breast cancer is detected at the early stages.
- Regular self-breast examination and regular mammograms are key to early detection.
- Presenting yourself early for treatment may result in more effective treatment, leading to a reduction in pain and suffering and a significant decrease in the loss of life
A very upbeat and faithful Tshego who at the tender age of 28 years old in August 2018 was diagnosed with grade 3 carcinoma breast cancer gave her account of living with and fighting cancer.
“Honestly finding out I had cancer pretty much turned my life upside down. My faith and strength in Christ has kept me going and keeps me positive as I’ve already declared my healing. It is very emotionally draining as it affects those around me as well. Physically I’m not as energetic or work out as much as I use to as the treatment fully drains you and makes you feel really sick because it not only kills the bad blood cells but the good ones too. Shocker, when my hair started shedding so I ended up just shaving it off. On the upside I get to rock fabulous wigs and stay looking gorgeous.
The unfortunate thing is that on top of the fear that comes along with what lies ahead many cancer patients have to deal with the stress of medical funds for the chemo. The medical cover I was on only gave a very little amount towards my dread disease claim and argued that they were not a medical aid but rather health insurance so they did not have the proper Oncology benefits so paying out of my own pocket has been a lot.
Cancer affects one in four South Africans, through diagnosis of family, friends, colleagues or self. We want you to know that you are not alone and that we would like to support you and your loved ones, regardless of how cancer has touched your life
As much as this may be seen as a terminal illness, it is treatable and once can go into full remission. My advice to the ladies would be to examine your breasts daily. If something feels off go see your GP. Do breast scans or go for your regular mammogram if you’re older. I never thought I’d be a 28 year old diagnosed with cancer with no family history as references but these are possibilities and one just needs to take the bull by the horns and get through it.
Prayer keeps me going and this God I server hasn’t let me down yet so aluta continua.”