Survivor Lindelwa Assists Breast Cancer Survivors as Phakamisa Volunteer
Lindelwa shares, “I was 66 years old when diagnosed. It was my dream to start a support group and it was so exciting when I launched the ‘Faith Phakamisa Support Group’ in December 2011. Since starting the group I have been able to assist ladies from as far away as the Transkei,” she explains.
“My advice to all women is to do breast self-examinations at least once per month and to go to the clinic regularly for check-ups…
To those diagnosed with cancer – it’s not a death sentence. There is life after diagnosis – I am a Survivor of four years and I am living proof of this!…
To those beginning their cancer journey, I say, be positive and strong….
Accept the change in your lifestyle and eat healthier. Don’t allow denial to prevent you from dealing with cancer and receiving treatment. And it’s important to join support groups to share the challenges you are facing and to be encouraged by others.”
Breast cancer Survivor, Lindelwa Faith Songca (69), from Mdantsane in East London, was recruited as a Phakamisa Volunteer. Her training and experience as a CANSA Volunteer inspired her to start her own support group to help other cancer Survivors.
Lindelwa used to work at the Department of Education where she had been taught how to do a breast self-examination.
After her diagnosis, it came to light that several members of her family had also had cancer, but that no-one had spoken about it.
According to Lindelwa, a myth re cancer in African Culture is that a person with cancer is bewitched and that this is why people often are afraid to share a cancer diagnosis. However, this is not true and she has seen many people with cancer go to sangomas for treatment and not get better.
Lindelwa felt that it was important that people face up to their symptoms as soon as possible: “People need to overcome the fear they have of going to a clinic. If you notice something unusual, seek help before the cancer gets worse.”
* Lindelwa passed away in March 2015.
Phakamisa – Helping to Fight Breast Cancer
CANSA is one of the founding partners of a volunteer project, Phakamisa, which means to ‘uplift’ in isiZulu and ‘elevate’ in isiXhosa.
Started three years ago, Phakamisa empowers female volunteers with knowledge of Breast Cancer and associated health matters to enable them to guide, aid and support Breast Cancer patients towards facilities for treatment.
They also assist in establishing an effective referral system and follow-up management of Breast Cancer patients.
During the last year, CANSA trained 369 Phakamisa Volunteers, who reached over 12 900 people about reducing their Breast Cancer risk.