‘Don’t wait until the last minute’

Cancer survivor Mereoni Taginadavui (left) and her daughter Amelia Nairoba at the Pinktober launch at Tanoa Plaza Hotel in Suva on Monday night. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

NINETEEN years ago, Mereoni Taginadavui was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.

She was 38 then and this took a toll on her life and her family.

“I was a stage three, one stage away from being advanced and it was not easy specially when cancer was a foreign word, a disease that you have no idea of and for you to be told about your diagnosis and also your protocol treatment,” Ms Taginadavui said.

She is a mother of four and throughout her treatment her eldest daughter, Amelia Nairoba, had to step in to take care of her siblings.

It was one of the hardest times of her life, especially having to also undergo chemotherapy as part of her treatment. “Cancer does not only affect you, it affects your whole family.

“For my kids it was not easy, my eldest daughter had to juggle so many responsibilities but I am grateful that we survived, my family survived,” she said.

“There is just so much stigma involved around having cancer. Chemotherapy is hard and harsh on your body, it’s as if you’re a walking zombie and of course you will lose your hair but you just have to keep fighting.

“You can’t let the treatment make you feel as if you’re any less than a woman, you have to be brave enough to go through it if you want to survive. The only thing that kept me going were my kids and the Lord.”

The cancer survivor has urged all women not to wait until the last minute to go for screenings.

Early detection, she said, was vital as it enabled women to know of the risks involved should they have breast cancer.

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