Cancer survivor encourages women to seek medical help early

FNU's College of Humanities and Education lecturer and breast cancer survivor Kelera Naborisi. Picture: SUPPLIED/FNU

Cancer survivor Kelera Naborisi is encouraging all women to seek medical assistance early should they notice suspicious growths in their breast.

The lecturer at the Fiji National University’s College of Humanities and Education was diagnosed with Stage 1 mucinous carcinoma cancer in 2018, almost a year after she first felt a lump in her right breast.

She said she was in denial for a few months before she presented herself at the hospital.

Sharing her journey at the FNU Pinktober Biggest Morning Tea hosted at the Derrick Campus in Samabula, Ms Naborisi said she was reluctant to talk about her experience because of the associated stigma.

“At first, I was reluctant to talk about my experience because of the stigma associated with it. However, I felt this would be a good platform; to thank God for His promise of being there for me through this valley of death, to encourage Fijian women and my work colleagues to seek medical advice and assistance early if they find lumps or suspicious growths in their breasts, and to acknowledge support from my family and friends,” said the cancer survivor.

While sharing her story, she said her late mother who was 74-years-old at the time was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2018, while recuperating in the hospital from a bone fracture surgery.

She said she was diagnosed with Stage 1 mucinous carcinoma cancer later that year, adding she battled cancer with her family members and God by her side.

“I had put all my faith in the Lord, and I was having a more intimate time with Him and just letting Him take my hand through this difficult journey.”

Two weeks after the medical procedure, Ms Naborisi said she was humbled to learn from Dr Josese Turagava – the oncologist surgeon at the CWMH – that her lymph nodes were clear from the cancer cells and she did not require chemotherapy.

‘’I would like to encourage all Fijian women who may be going through the same to come forward and seek medical advice and assistance early. And to never lose hope, to trust in God and He will give you strength and peace during this phase in your life.”

At the biggest morning tea event, Dr Turagava said each year, the CWM hospital recorded 250 to 300 new cases of breast cancer.

Dr Turagava made a strong appeal to women in Fiji to overcome the killer-disease by responding quickly during the early symptoms of breast cancer.

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