Cancer survivor beat disease twice

BREAST CANCER MONTH: Dr Phiwe Jafta, left, cancer survivor Carmen Mentoor and businesswoman Zodwa Gqwaka at a breast cancer awareness campaign at Nonesi Mall on Saturday Picture: ZINTLE BOBELO

Two-times breast cancer survivor, Carmen Mentoor, who felt as if she was on death row after being diagnosed in 2006, encouraged women to regularly examine their breasts at a breast cancer awareness campaign hosted by Nonesi Mall last week.

After undergoing a lumpectomy procedure and six sessions of chemotherapy, Mentoor had to face a recurrence years later. “I had to have another lumpectomy, a double mastectomy and four sessions of chemotherapy. I have been through a lot because all the treatment weakens your system, but here I am today and I want people not to be discouraged when they hear the word cancer.”

With October being Breast Cancer awareness month, Mentoor was invited by Nonesi Mall, along with other guests to raise awareness of the impact of breast cancer in society. Dr Phiwe Jafta as well as representatives of the department of health were present to provide expert advice. Two local gyms were also invited to kick-start the day with an aerobics session.

The mother of two who is currently on five year treatment to prevent the cancer from coming back said the support of family, colleagues and friends was important and had kept her going “The lump was as big as a golf ball and I never noticed. Women need to examine their breasts, go for mammograms and pap smears,” she said.

Dr Phiwe Jafta, who was one of the speakers, said focus must shift towards intensifying breast cancer awareness. “There is still not much intensity in breast cancer awareness. It is common in all racial groups and with the prevalence of HIV, it is becoming more common. People feel lumps in their breasts and tend to ignore them for a long time and by the time they consult a doctor it is almost too late.” He encouraged regular breast examinations and for people to live a healthy lifestyle to help reduce the risk.

“The entire morning was dedicated to good health. Nonesi Mall is always looking for ways to empower the community of Komani and surrounding areas in any way possible. It gives us great pleasure to know that we are leaving little footprints of hope to our community. We will continue to support and empower communities. As the saying goes: “Umntu ngumntu ngabantu, izandla ziyagezana,” said exhibition co-ordinator Warronique van Dyk.

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