How to cope with a cancer diagnosis in Nigeria.

The Cancer experience in general is a life changing and scary experience, but having cancer in Nigeria can only be categorized as terrifying. I don’t use this word lightly. The horror stories of people dying every day, at 80% mortality ,we do have the highest death rate from cancer in Africa ! The fact that there are few working radiotherapy machines in the country and not enough oncologists for the ever-increasing new cancer diagnosis (thanks to screening programmes). Add this to the fact that it is an expensive disease to treat in a country where there is no fully equipped and fully functional Cancer Centre and truly, there are sufficient reasons to be filled with terror.

Nevertheless, cancer remains cancer wherever you are, and the key to surviving cancer is being prepared to fight the battle of your life. You cannot allow yourself to wallow in self pity and fear. I tried that and it didn’t work. Surround yourself with positive people, people that encourage you, that empathize with you NOT sympathizers. Sympathy creates victims , victims don’t survive, empathy encourages victory and survival. It IS good to cry it out first to get it out of your system, then you have to wipe those tears and focus on living.

So many people think of death when they are told they have cancer. The fact is we will all surely die. From the day we are born we are sure of death. Some people died yesterday from car accidents, some just didn’t wake up. No one knows how or when they will die. So why focus on dying? Focus on living the best way you can . Focus on enjoying every day and making sure that you do your best to leave a legacy that will live on after you. Take every day as it comes and as a gift
Its true that Nigeria does have its limitations but you can survive cancer if you take control of your life and health. 

If you have been given a cancer diagnosis ALWAYS get a second opinion. Ask questions, don’t just accept any medication / treatment given to you. Ask about available options, read as much as you can about the cancer you have and the medication being proposed to you. 

If you don’t get the responses you want, get a second opinion, if still not satisfied get a third. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. You have rights as a patient to ask questions and get answers, don’t just surrender yourself to medical service providers. Make sure you are comfortable with who is providing your care. 

If you are on treatment, always check with your doctor before embarking on any new food fad or the latest internet cure for cancer treatment. There are so many quack therapies out there promising miracle cures … be wise. 

If you are trusting God for a miracle… don’t tell him how to do his job. I had cancer and I had my double mastectomy, had my hormone treatment and I’m cancer free now. I believe that is a miracle and that God healed me using the doctors. We see too many patients who were diagnosed early but went to faith healers instead of hospital and when that failed, several months later presented at the hospital but the cancer was too far gone to save them. 

Do incorporate your faith into your care, its important and will help you through difficult times but don’t neglect medical care where it is available to you. You can beat cancer too, but you have to face it squarely and make the necessary choices needed to stay alive.

You CAN-SURVIVE !!!!

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