Angela Kuzilwa, Executive Director, Tanzania Breast Cancer Foundation

It was in October 2004 at the age of 53 years, when my life changed. For almost six months prior to my diagnosis of breast cancer I noticed changes in my breast which was mostly numbness and nipple discharge. Having a very limited knowledge of cancer, breast cancer was the last thing on my mind. When I was finally diagnosed with the disease I wasn't very sure how to react as I was gripped with fear. In Tanzania cancer is always associated with imminent death. I never thought I would go back to living my life the way I knew how to if I was to survive it. However, with the support of my husband, family and friends I had very successful treatment. The fear of recurrence is something that I have learned to live with. Any slight physical pain would automatically alarm me and the fear of cancer would creep up. I have now learnt to live my life celebrating every day that I am alive.
I understood that many women in Tanzania lacked awareness and had the many questions I had looming in my mind when I was first diagnosed. From my experience I felt the need to reach out to other breast cancer patients/survivors in Tanzania to support each other and eliminate all the myths and stigma surrounding women living with breast cancer. In completion of my treatment Tanzania Breast Cancer Foundation (TBCF) was started in 2006 and officially launched on 12 th August 2008. Having started in the living room of my home, TBCF will not be touching the many lives it is today if it wasn't for the efforts of all the breast cancer survivors and volunteers, that work tirelessly to enhance the lives of women living with breast cancer.