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My resolve to survive enabled me beat breast cancer, says Atinuke Lawal

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Says no Alternative Medicine can cure cancer

By Gabriel Olawale

The fight against cancer is often unpredictable. Some people live to tell the story, others are not so privileged. One of those that survived is  Atinuke Lawal. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, it was as if her life had ended.

“I received the news with shock and denial,” she recalled during an encounter. “It was like a death sentence. I told the doctor it was not possible and wondered what I did to have breast cancer.”

Atinuke tried several hospitals but the results were the same. It was the beginning of her 2-year ordeal with cancer and it came with so many different challenges. But for the determination to survive, she would have succumbed to the disease.

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Sharing her experience ahead of the World Cancer Day commemoration on the 4th of February, Atinuke said her only guilt was the failure to go for regular medical check-up.

“I hardly fell sick. I just believed everything was normal. Actually I regarded cancer as white man disease.”

She disclosed that her initial plan was to go for surgery abroad but couldn’t obtain a visa on time so she opted for local treatment.

“After the surgery, I abandoned treatment because of the fearful things I heard about chemotherapy and radiotherapy. But a year later, the cancer returned and I was made to understand that I needed to submit myself for complete treatment.”

While the treatment is ongoing, Atinuke said her survival strategy was the determination to overcome the cancer.

“In the first place, anybody at any time can be diagnosed with cancer. So don’t think it is devil’s work or someone from your village that sent an arrow. It is a disease and with the right information and treatment you will overcome it.

“People came to me with different advice, suggestions and stories that could make me lose hope. But my determination from the very beginning was that I would survive. It’s a phase that will definitely pass. It is just one of the health issues that with early detection and treatment you can survive.

“My doctor used to tell me during treatment that when cancer comes, its aim is to take over your mind and the moment you allow that, surviving it will be very difficult. He also told me that when someone is ill the nerve begins to fail, but if you are able to keep your nerve up, you will be strong enough to fight the illness.

“I applied my faith and strength to the treatment I received at the hospital. Most times, people go to see the wrong doctor or go to the Chemist for treatment, but the more you delay the worse it become. You need to see and oncologist immediately who will give you treatment options.”

Cancer respects nobody and can come to anybody, Atinuke warned.

“The thing is that when you first get the news, don’t let it break you. Look at it as a phase that will pass, be strong in your heart and let your mind be clear. Forget about the enemy that might send cancer as people uoften believe.

“By the time your mind is strong, at every stage; you will be prepared and know what to do. During and after treatment you should watch your lifestyle, although nobody really know the cause of cancer but there are some lifestyles that can trigger it.”

She advised people to always go for regular check-up. “Most times for every kind of illness, early detection is key as it aids treatment.

“In terms of medical treatment, we are not where we should be but we are making progress when compared to 2014 when I was diagnosed. That time, there was only one functional radiotherapy machine working in the whole of Nigeria and it was at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital where everyone from across the country that needed radiotherapy had to go.”

Atinuke said that her experience during the treatment informed her decision to set up Atinuke Cancer Foundation to help in awareness creation, “with increase awareness from different stakeholders, government is now gradually investing in cancer treatment and capacity building.

She cautioned people diagnosed with cancer and their relatives to be mindful of alternative medicine dealers claiming to have herbs or roots that can cure cancer.

“There is no alternative medicine that can cure cancer and I have not seen anybody that was cured through alternative medicine. But I can count several people that have use chemotherapy in the past and are still alive.

“Several alternative practitioners have come to me for partnership but I tell them if they have the cure they should present it to the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research or go to the hospital where there are a lot of people diagnosed with cancer to present their cure.”


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