By CAROLINE NGWENGWE –
A CANCER survivor from Choma District in Southern province has urged women to take cancer screening services offered at health facilities seriously to save their lives.
Ms Vena Muleya was diagnosed with ovary cancer in August 2018, after her stomach started bulging making her look like a woman carrying a full term pregnancy.
She said the situation forced her to seek medical help from Choma general Hospital, where a scan was done but was referred to Livingstone General Hospital for specialised treatment.
Ms Muleya said the Doctor from Livingstone General Hospital immediately requested her to under-go an operation the following day upon reading the results of the scan obtained from Choma General Hospital.
She said after the operation was conducted, samples were then taken to University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka to establish what the problem was.
The results of samples taken to Lusaka revealed that she had stage three cancer and needed to under- go further surgery.
“ I was told that I had stage three cancer it felt like being sentenced to death at that moment all hope was lost but i never thought of giving up cause I needed to try my best to fight the disease,’’ she said.
She was then placed on chemotherapy treatment which brought about its own side effects such as hair loss, change in skin colour as the drug burns cells in the body .This was the beginning of her long journey to recovery.
She said in the midst of her illness, the house that assisted her with finances got burnt down after it caught fire in September 2018 posing yet another setback.
She said friends from within Choma formed a group on whatsapp, where they mobilised resources alongside other logistics to enable her seek treatment for cancer in Lusaka.
“I t is not an easy thing to treat cancer because chemotherapy is very strong, one needs to have faith as there is nothing impossible with God,’’ she said.
She said again early this year she had a relapse of cancer after successful treatment earlier on .Her stomach again started to bulge making her experience pain also fluid retention in the process.
The doctors in Lusaka at (UTH) again requested her to resume chemotherapy after being screened but has since finished the round of sessions.
“This is almost two years now from the time I was diagnosed with cancer without any signs or symptoms of the disease .Iam now a living proof that a person can be treated and get healed from cancer,” she said.
She has urged the Ministry of Health (MOH) to do more sensitization on cancer for women in rural areas as most of them still opt to seek help from traditional leaders instead of conventional drugs.
She said most women in the rural areas would rather wait until it was too late to treat the disease resulting in deaths which could be prevented because their bodies’ immune system had weakened by that time to enable them fight the disease.
“Women need to wake up and help each other on how deadly cancer is, most of the women in rural areas are ignorant about the disease,’’ She said.
She has advised women to take advantage of cancer screening services offered at hospital to detect the disease early when the body still had strength to fight it.