“Angela I’m sorry you have cancer”.
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At the age of 53 back in October 2004, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As the Doctor was explaining to me my diagnosis, I did not fully comprehend the weight of it all. At that time I had no knowledge of breast cancer, there was not enough information available, especially in Tanzania that advocated about cancer. Many women suffered in silence and went to the hospital when it was too late. Until today cancer is still clouded and surrounded with myths and mystery. It is a taboo for an African woman to talk about your boobs.
After I completed my treatment which included surgery (mastectomy), radiation and chemotherapy I had an urge to start a support group for breast cancer survivors to meet and share experiences. I came to realize many families in Tanzania especially the women lacked education about breast and cervical cancer. I invited and encouraged breast cancer patients and those who have completed their treatment to openly talk about the difficult journeys of being diagnosed with cancer. I believe bottling your feelings up may lead to depression.
I am extremely happy to say for the past decade the story is different. I have noticed more women come out and tell their stories as breast cancer warriors openly on Radios, TV and Radio stations. We are a living symbol of hope, demonstrating that there is life after breast cancer.
From 2020 and after 11 years of tireless work, we decided its time to spread our work to cover more cervical cancer projects. We did this because we have been getting cervical survivors who wish to be counselled by us.
Cervical cancer ranks as the 1st most frequent cancer among women in Tanzania and the 1st most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age.
As we begin this new chapter, we will continue to create awareness for both breast & cervical cancer and empower and support those people affected by them.
Founder, Tanzania Breast Cancer Foundation (TBCF)