Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy, Surgery and lifestyle changes. There is this overwhelming feeling upon hearing these dreaded typical cancer treatment plans…..Right? Come with me as I take you on my personal journey of surviving breast cancer.
Well……. I am Oluwaseun Olanrewaju Johnson, a soft skills trainer, part-time lecturer, realtor and the owner of Beauty by Julie. And yes! I am a breast cancer survivor!
Let’s debunk some Myths
My reason for coming out is to demystify some cancer myths & change the narrative. Here are some of these myths about cancer and the facts that dispel them
- Many people believe there is no life after a cancer diagnosis. This is far from being true. I started my skincare products and other laudable achievements after my treatment.
- Cancer only affects old women. I was diagnosed at the age of 34! and I met younger people during the course of my treatment.
- There is a belief that it has to be hereditary. This is also not particularly true as there are many other associated risk factors. In my case, there was no family history of cancer.
- Breast cancer happens to women alone! Not at all. Men can also have cancer, although very rare. Recently, Michael Knowles, the father of the popular R&B musician, Beyonce, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Cancer can be devastating for the patient, family & friends as it requires a lot of funds, moral & emotional support. The best time to treat it is at the early stage when it has not spread to other parts of the body.
Reasons influencing poor survival turnout
- Alternative therapies as 1st choice for treatment: One common reason influencing the poor survival rate amongst cancer patients is the practice of alternative means to curing it without proper medical advice or exploring the medical way. I almost fell victim of this as I tried several alternative therapies such as using a high dose of vitamin C, drinking lemon, soursop leaf, stopped sugar and all sorts of supplements. Please note that these other alternative treatments are not cheap as I had spent close to N800,000.00 before realizing I was endangering my life.
- Late presentation: Cancer patients tend to present to medical experts most times when their cases are far too advanced and all other alternative therapies have failed.
- Spiritual beliefs: We could complicate issues by replacing medical help with just prayers & fasting. This could be very detrimental. I remember being told by some clergy that it was an arrow and only fervent prayers, fasting & deliverance could help. Another clergy asked that I forfeited undergoing surgery as he saw death as the outcome. We need to be able to sift through what we listen to as they can either help or discourage us.
The place of medicine can never be replaced with all these listed above. However, there is no reason they cannot work hand in hand to give a better outcome.
Reasons why people run from the medical treatment available.
- The physical loss of a part of one’s body can serve as a daily reminder and trauma that could lead to low self-esteem.
- The trauma of chemotherapy/ radiotherapy and all their side effects.
- Outrageous Medical bills
- The fear of future reoccurrence
Firstly, to all women, be familiar with your bodies, perform self-breast examinations to check for lumps or any funny feeling; preferably after your period. If you find anything please seek advice from a medical expert immediately as delay may be fatal.
Secondly, to the women with a cancer diagnosis
- Adhere strictly to the medical information from your doctor.
- Do not be afraid to seek help from your network.
- Do not be quiet as you may not be able to sort all the medical bills on your own.
- Find and Join a support group.
Lastly, I urge other survivors too to speak up as this would encourage others going through the same ordeal and give them hope.
Are a cancer survivor or currently fighting the good fight and wish to share your story to motivate the rest of the world? Please contact us.
Feel free to reach out to us if you still have questions or need further assistance? Do not forget to drop your comments in the comment box or chat with us directly. We would love to hear from you.
Until the next episode. Remember: you have a friend in us …..here at Oncopadi.