With the end of Breast Cancer Awareness month, many people will now turn their focus to other important issues affecting women, such as the 16 Days of Activism , to be commemorated later this month. But the need to continue to educate women, as well as men, about breast cancer remains just as urgent.
And with the revelations that cancer is now a leading non-communicable killer disease in the country, it is important to highlight the stories of individuals who have fought the disease.
Jane Moyo (57) is one such person. Recently, I conducted an interview with her to learn more about her fight and victory over cancer.
Vimbai Chinembiri (VC): When were you diagnosed with cancer, and how old were you?
Jane Moyo (JM): I was diagnosed in 2002, I was 44 years old then.
VC: How did you know you had breast cancer?
JM: I suspected it. I had pain on my right breast where there was a lump too. I then went to the doctor who confirmed that I had breast cancer.
VC: Is there a history of cancer in your family?
JM: There is no history of cancer in my family.
VC: What were your main concerns at this point?
JM: I was worried about my children. My thoughts were that I would die so I wanted to prepare them for that possibility.
VC: What kind of treatment regimen did you undergo?
JM: I went for X-rays as well as a scan and mammogram. I also had a biopsy; after that I had a total mastectomy and then went for chemotherapy for six months.
VC: How did treatment affect you personally and financially? Did it have any effects on your family?
JM: Financially, it was terrible. I had to use every dollar available but God pulled me through. At one point, I failed to get a salary because my sick leave forms were misplaced. However, I did manage to try and continue with life as if nothing had happened. My marriage was shaken deeply by my illness. We are together with my husband now but at that time he was a come and go husband. I think he was afraid to face the reality that the woman he had married had one breast due to breast cancer.
I really appreciate the response of the doctors who attended to me; they were friendly and explained the treatment clearly to me and my family and its side effects. When they started to occur, we were prepared.
VC: Is there a support group or network you joined during this time?
JM: No, I did not join any support group but I was getting assistance from the Bulawayo Cancer Association. I am now in a group called CONQUER which consists of cancer survivors who support each other via social media, on Whatsapp mostly.
VC: What other obstacles did you encounter and was your outlook on life affected?
JM: Finding the correct bra size was a major obstacle. However, my outlook was not affected; I just put on a prosthesis.
VC: Your words to someone who has breast cancer today?
JM: To someone battling with breast cancer I say, be of good cheer. Cancer is not a death sentence if detected early and treated. Make sure to follow the oncologist’s advice and treatment plan.
Main image taken from www.miravalresorts.com
Video taken from Healthchanneltv / cherishyourhealthtv YouTube channel