MISA-Swaziland | e-Forum
June 30 2014
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Swaziland Breast and Cervical Cancer Network — Press Release
Swaziland’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Network (SBCCN) has recently diagnosed a 21-year-old woman with breast cancer.
Fikile Kunene* is the youngest known person to ever be diagnosed with breast cancer in Swaziland. At the time of finding out about her condition, she had just been admitted to Limkokwing University of Creative Arts to pursue studies in tourism and travel management. The doctor at the breast cancer clinic said the size of the tumour and the aggressiveness of the cancer mean her treatment is urgent.
To ensure a more successful treatment outcome, and therefore a better chance of saving her life, the doctor said Fikile requires between 4 and 6 cycles of pre-surgery chemotherapy before undergoing a mastectomy (removal of the breast). After the mastectomy, another 6 cycles of post-surgery chemotherapy are required in order to give her the best chance of a full recovery.
Chemotherapy is not available in Swaziland. Patients therefore have to rely on the Phalala Fund in order to access medical services in neighbouring South Africa. The Phalala Fund, however, is currently facing challenges in responding promptly to the needs of patients such as Fikile’s. She is thus expected to join the long queue on the Phalala fund to access treatment.
Time is not on her side as her tumour is spreading rapidly; the doctor has reiterated that her case is urgent. The doctor further explained that breast cancer in such a young person is rare. Only 1.5% of breast cancer cases are found in young people worldwide. Moreover, breast cancer in young patients is generally more aggressive than in older ones.
Fikile’s family cannot afford to pay for her treatment. She is therefore appealing to the kind hearts of Swazi people to help save her life. One cycle of chemotherapy treatment currently costs around R7 600 ($US720). She will therefore need an estimated R70 000 ($US6,600) to go through all the cycles. SBCCN would like to appeal to the business community and individuals who feel they could lend a hand to help this promising young lady. Breast cancer can be controlled if detected and treated early; many survivors have successfully undergone treatment and continue living well.
If you think you are able to help to assist this young lady please call the SBCCN office on +268 2404 9270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
SBCCN has never gone public with a statement like this before; however because of the young age of the patient and the seriousness of her condition, we feel the urgent need to raise funds in an effort to give Fikile a chance.
For the past 10 years the SBCCN, a not-for-profit organisation, has worked to alleviate the negative effects of breast and cervical cancer in Swaziland. Amongst other programs and activities, the Network helps to prevent and sensitive the community on breast and cervical cancer by offering free breast- and cervical-screening clinics in Mbabane, Manzini and Hlatikhulu.