‘Cancer is not deadly, society is’

Ongwediva-We are going to walk this journey together, were the remarks of the doctor who gave Fransina /Nanus, a survivor of breast cancer, a hug shortly after diagnosing her in June 2015.

Her determination to fight cancer was instilled in her by the first nurse she met at the Windhoek Central Hospital's oncology centre.

I was asking a lot of questions including whether I was going to be fine and the nurse, who also had cancer, undressed herself and said to me, 'Here I am, I have had cancer for four years', said /Nanus.

/Nanus was speaking at the 6th breast, cervical and prostate cancer awareness official opening at Ongwediva Medipark over the weekend.

She said seeing the breast-less nurse empowered her to talk and make jokes about her condition.

I felt more empowered when she further told me that all these people you see here are cancer patients � and that is when I dropped this nonsense of crying, said

/Nanus further.

Today /Nanus is fighting the cancer head-on and says she consoles herself by comparing the chemotherapy she undergoes to morning sickness experienced by a pregnant woman in the first few months of pregnancy.

Some of the lessons she has learnt from the Windhoek oncology centre is that no matter what toll the chemotherapy takes on her she is not alone � and most often forgets she has cancer.

The same experience cannot be related to the Oshakati oncology centre where only the doctors seemed to care.

In Windhoek you forget you have cancer � the kukus (in reference to the older nurses) are very supportive. In Oshakati you just cry on your own, there is no support apart from what you receive from the doctors, said /Nanus.

Two years later, /Nanus said, she is no longer afraid of the cancer, but afraid of the surroundings those with cancer find themselves in.

She related that society is non-supportive and most often those in her shoes need support and someone to talk to.

I am not afraid of cancer. It is not cancer which is killing us � the surroundings are killing us, she said.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia