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Cancer is not a death sentence, survivor says

 Cancer survivor Nana Kilemi. [Courtesy]

Life has not been easy for Nana Kilemi, a survivor of breast cancer.

She went through a tough period as a cancer patient and survived numerous financial and physical difficulties.

Nonetheless, Ms Kilemi is now focused on uplifting the lives of cancer patients after overcoming the battle.

In 2020, she felt something like a stone in her right breast and resorted to taking painkillers to ease the pain.

Kilemi had ignored it at first but the pain in the affected breast persisted.

“I used to take painkillers until around 2022 when my body started shutting, I knew there was a problem because even putting on a brassiere became impossible,” she says.

When she eventually visited the doctor Kilemi was told she needed to see a breast surgeon urgently. “I was going through a financial struggle so I did not know where to get the money for the hospital,” she says.

Faced with the challenges of raising money to meet her family’s needs, Ms Kilemi found it difficult to find the money for medical check-ups and treatment.

“Do I buy food for the family or go to hospital yet my children are hungry?” she would wonder.

However, a positive diagnosis changed her life and was the start of both financial and psychological struggles as she tried to cope.

“My fears were confirmed when the results showed I had breast cancer which was at stage three B, a pretty advanced stage,” she says.

 Cancer survivor Nana Kilemi. [Courtesy]

Ms Kilemi was jobless yet the doctor had advised that she needed surgery that would see her breast removed together with the lymph nodes.

“I felt anger and frustration because I had no job, no money and there were children to take care of. Nevertheless, I had to cope,” she says.

Fortunately, her family came through, helping her raise the money for the removal of the affected breast.

Rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy followed and she is now taking hormonetherapy.

Having experienced the pains cancer patients go through was a major reason she started a foundation to help vulnerable cancer patients.

Ms Kilemi, the founder of Needy Cancer Health Initiative which advocates for the welfare of cancer patients regrets that cancer drugs are too expensive.

“If the government can reduce the cost of cancer drugs it would go a long way in helping needy cancer cases,” she says.

Ms Kilemi is focused on extending a helping hand to needy cancer patients and offering hope to them.

“Cancer is not a death sentence, you can have it and still lead a normal life,” she says.

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