How to beat cancer from a cancer survivor - Celebrating Cancer Month

OCTOBER 13, 2016

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) cancer is a very aggressive disease and deaths from cancer outnumber the combined deaths from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria worldwide. About 8.2 million people die from cancer each year, an estimated 13% of all deaths worldwide.

The aggressiveness of this disease is what occurred in my mind on the 15th of May 2013 when I was diagnosed with cancer Stage 1 (size of cancer tumor), Grade 3 (aggressive cancer). As far as I knew, it was the end of my precious world.  The dreaded cancer that every human fears was now a reality in my life.  I decided from the day of the diagnoses that I would never allow it to consume me.

I made a commitment to myself that I will fight it the best way I know how and for starters I accepted that it won’t be an easy journey, however I knew for a fact that being positive with everything happening and embracing the journey as lessons learnt was the best option and that alone, made me so much stronger in many ways. I realized that makeup and having long hair all my life is all cosmetic and ego and I decided to put the ego aside to prioritize my health.

I am proud to say that I was brave enough to walk out of my last round of chemo and removed my scarf showing the world my bald head. I am a cancer survivor for more than 3 years now, and my life will never go back to the way it was prior to being diagnosed. 

Yes, it’s not easy there are challenges with major life changes. I had to retrain my brain as I could not read for long periods of time or concentrate.  I had to choose if I am willing to take the post medication for 10 years after chemo that is most likely to destroy my quality of life whereas stopping the medication would be a high risk for the cancer to return. I had to make a very serious decision and I chose to stop the medication. I am currently on holistic treatment as prevention but I have my quality of life back

My message to everyone

Life can change in a heartbeat; we have no idea what lies ahead. Therefore it is important to quickly learn how to adjust as life stands still for no one. The disease is not always a death sentence, early diagnosis saves lives. Access to optimum treatment improves outcomes, and life does not stop because you have cancer.

This journey made me into a much happier person willing to extend a helping hand, I always avail myself to talk to those in need as I know that  it’s not an easy journey to go through on your own.

The CANSA association together with organisations like the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) is playing a vital role in creating awareness on an annual basis to encourage people to take proactive preventative steps when it comes to cancer.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) report (World Health Statistics 2015) states that more than 30% of cancer deaths could be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors. Early detection, accurate diagnosis, and effective treatment, including pain relief and palliative care, help increase cancer survival rates and reduce suffering.

Caption: Michelle Von Hoffmann, CDC Management Systems Coordinator – Operations Is a cancer survivor and an inspiration to many.