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By rasheedakinshola • 14 days ago • 20 views • 3 comments

Some women choose to die, rather than remove their breasts once they are diagnosed with breast cancer, but Abigail Simon-Hart chose to live after having undergone mastectomy with the use of mastectomy bras. In this interview with Omolara Akintoye, she reveals how she discovered the disease, her life after surgery and how she is now giving back to society

MADAM we are sorry to inform you that you have breast cancer,” that was the shocking news from her doctor five years ago, according to Abigail Simon-Hart. Narrating her ordeal, she said, “My experience as a breast cancer survivor was through my mother, because my mother had breast cancer. So, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was well aware. I used to go for mammogram before I had it, so as a result of this we were able to detect breast cancer early enough.”

According to Simon-Hart, cancer is a life changing diagnosis, but she’s grateful for detecting early enough. “As I speak, I’m bold to say I’m currently cancer-free. It boils down to the fact that cancer is not a death sentence. Nowadays as a result of the advance in medicine, cancer is fast becoming almost like a chronic disease such as high blood pressure and diabetes and malaria. You discover that in developed countries, people with 3rd-4th stage are living longer, as long as 20 years, because they are able to manage the disease.”

Waiting until it has spread, she said, could be more dangerous and expensive to manage. It is just that at the later stage it is more expensive and more difficult to cure.

She lamented that here in Nigeria, the lack of infrastructure, medical personnel that will detect the disease early enough, coupled with fact that people also die of ignorance, are responsible for the high mortality rate from the disease.

“It was easier for me because I was aware of breast cancer. I knew my body very well, though it was a shock for me initially. I was quite upset, but I had to face the fact that I had cancer and I had to do the needful to stay alive.  I chose to have a double mastectomy and that decision saved my life.

“Looking at me now you’ll never believe I had double mastectomy,” she said.

Life after surgery

“After the surgery, I went for various scans. They discovered that it was still early, that it had not left my breast, so it was easier to remove the two breasts and place me in hormonal treatment to clear any cancer cells that might still remain and ever since, I’ve been cancer free. It was a very difficult but important decision that I had to take, and for five years I’ve been cancer free. So I’m using the mastectomy bra now.”

Essence of the bra: Once you remove your breast as a result of breast cancer, for some, it might be one breast while for others it might be the two, you need something there to fill up the space, to prevent stigma.

“The message is that having your breast removed is not a death sentence, people worry a lot about dying, yet we’ll all die one day; but, for now, let us concentrate on living. Fight on and be strong. Now I’m an advocate in donating mastectomy bras to breast cancer patients,” she said.

Managing breast cancer, she said, is very expensive but the key is early detection which is far cheaper than cure. It is expensive because people discover quite late. If it’s detected early, one might not need to do chemotherapy. I was only placed on hormonal treatment which was not quite expensive.

Government, private investors and corporate organisations need to provide the necessary equipment, personnel, funds and the drugs as well as have an insurance scheme that provides for these people to be able to access it either free of charge or at subsidised rate.


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3 Replies | Last update 14 days ago | Last comment
  •  You discover that in developed countries, people with 3rd-4th stage are living longer, as long as 20 years, because they are able to manage the disease.”

  •  You discover that in developed countries, people with 3rd-4th stage are living longer, as long as 20 years, because they are able to manage the disease.”

  • Its actually not the end of the world. Life continue

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