A Matsiloje woman in the North East District, Onalethata Sibangi Setilo, is a hero of her own life after she came near a death experience against breast cancer, a disease which continues to claim millions of lives worldwide.
Last week, during the Cancer Awareness Day in Francistown, Setilo told The Telegraph how she overcame fear and boldly fought the fatal disease with whatever she had in 2006.
Beaming energetically with life and confidence, she said that the adversity began when she felt some lumps in her breast and took the bold step to approach the health officials at Nyangabwe Referral Hospital for a diagnosis.
“It was not an easy road but I had to take the bold step to test for cancer because, after all, it is my life that comes first,” she said.
Setilo said that cancer is a disease that a lot of Batswana have always neglected and ignored, but if attended well in time lives can be saved. She said that after the tests, she finally got the results that she had cancer.
She added that after she heard the devastating news, she nearly lost hope but realized that her health is of great importance and went for radio therapy in Gaborone where she was healed.
“Although I had to undergo surgery in which one of my breasts was removed, at least I have healed and I am now healthy,” she said.
Setilo mentioned that most of Batswana are fearful of taking the risk of going for cancer tests leading to the escalation of cancer death cases. She went further to say that it is high time that Batswana utilize the opportunities offered by government, such as free testing, free consultation and medication offered by the Ministry of Health.
“I went for a radio therapy, which is estimated to cost about P100 000 and it was fully paid for by the government, an opportunity which Batswana can take advantage of,” she said.
She added that it is not every government that can folk out a whooping P100 000 for free to help its citizens.
According to a report from the Botswana National Cancer Registry (BNCR), from 1988 to 2008, 11 363 Batswana had cancer. The report states that the top five cancers in the population are cancer of the skin, cervix, breast cancer and esophagus. The number of deaths during the period of 1988 to 2008 were 3 627, which is 27 percent of the registered number.