"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Nigerian women are sharing their stories.

“I'm sure I'll still beat him.” These are the words of Didi, a Nigerian woman who feared a reoccurrence of her cancer – but saw herself as a survivor.

This behavior is becoming more common in every single place as more people live after a cancer diagnosis. Although the population is growing and aging, so is the incidence of cancer. increasingit is usually true that there's a possibility. alive is greater than before.

And identifying as a survivor, slightly than a “victim,” matters. the study show that it's related to higher health outcomes.

Didi's optimism is impressive once you consider the challenges women face: a weak health system, out-of-pocket medical costs, the stigma of cancer, and a highly patriarchal society that exacerbates women's vulnerability.

In 2020, Nigeria reported. An estimated 124,815 recent cancer cases and 78,899 cancer deaths, mostly from breast, cervical and prostate cancer. The country is expected Experiencing a rise in Cancer incidence by 2040.

The growing population of individuals with cancer makes it essential to know their experiences. What is it wish to be a cancer survivor in Nigeria? Does identifying as a survivor slightly than a victim make a difference? Can the standard of lifetime of survivors be improved?

These were the questions my colleagues and I – researchers in gerontology and public health – had in mind once we the study In which Didi participated.

Breast cancer survivors

For our study of what it means to be a female cancer survivor in Nigeria, we adopted a qualitative descriptive research approach. We interviewed 30 women in Abuja who had cancer (29 diagnosed with breast cancer and one with skin cancer). Their ages were between 29 and 55. 16 were married. There were 19 children. 29 received tertiary education.

The women within the study were recruited through a partnership with a company that gives psychosocial support to cancer survivors. This meant that they felt quite comfortable sharing their experiences.

We analyzed what they told us to discover themes.

Three foremost findings emerged:

  • Cancer could be stigmatizing

  • Women made sense of their experience in alternative ways

  • Being a cancer survivor could be empowering.

Nigerian women reported that they experienced negative attitudes from others. One said: “I've been mocked… laughed at… embarrassed.” Another said he was not offered his job back after completing cancer treatment. She also said that her husband abused her after the mastectomy. Stigma may end up in social isolation, lack of livelihood and fear of searching for help.

All study participants identified as survivors, but for various reasons. They mentioned strength, hope, self-esteem, having a positive outlook on life, and maintaining a way of control. For some, their religious faith gave them that identity. One said that by seeing herself as a survivor, she was in a position to keep on with her medical treatment. Care and support contributed to this identity for some:

Ever since I joined (a support group), I see myself as a cancer survivor. I'm going to make it irrespective of what, I do know I'm going to make it.

Women shared their thoughts in regards to the future and beyond their cancer diagnosis. Many showed great resilience as their responses showed hope for a greater future beyond cancer.

Overall, although among the women on this study talked about their negative experiences, they reported that identifying as cancer survivors gave them a positive perspective. It suited him. Other studies who found that identifying as a cancer survivor could be empowering.

These characteristics are particularly essential in Nigeria, where some people diagnosed with cancer may view it as a death sentence or refuse chemotherapy and surgery because they imagine these treatments can result in death. .

Cancer is extremely disruptive: it involves treatment and changes in relationships, careers and lifestyles. This can have a huge effect on future goals. The way people select to know all of that is the difference between being a “survivor” and a “victim.”

The selection to discover as a cancer survivor in Nigeria is to decide on a voice or an energetic role. It can empower an individual and make them more resilient.

Still, help is required to cut back the burden of cancer in Nigeria National plan.