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Pictures -- Woman Struggles With Breast Cancer, Needs $10 000 For Operation

A cancer patient in Bulawayo whose breasts have ballooned to unmanageable proportions that cause her constant excruciating pain, is seeki...

A cancer patient in Bulawayo whose breasts have ballooned to unmanageable proportions that cause her constant excruciating pain, is seeking about $10 000 for a life saving operation to cut them off.

Ms Phanankosi Dube (36), a single mother of one from Makokoba suburb, needs to raise the money by June 16.

Her family yesterday said her breasts had grown so big she can no longer walk or breathe properly.

Thandeka Moyo, Health Reporter
They said doctors had confirmed that she has breast cancer, which has advanced so much that the only solution was to surgically remove them.

“My cousin is in great pain and we are failing to cope with the situation right now. She was supposed to be operated on urgently but Mpilo Central Hospital doctors scheduled it for June because she has low blood levels,” said Mr Rodney Dube, her cousin who commutes from Cowdray Park daily to take Ms Dube to Mzilikazi Clinic.

Pictures -- Woman Struggles With Breast Cancer, Needs $10 000 For Operation
“We cannot afford to buy iron-rich food that will supplement her blood levels because we only have mealie — meal at the moment. We do hope someone will help us because the breasts are now too heavy for her and are messing up her breathing.”

He said he uses a push cart to take Ms Dube to Mzilikazi Clinic daily to have pus drained from her breasts.

“The cart causes a lot of discomfort and pain and we wish we had other means of transport so the process is less painful. At one point she was in a coma for three months and from then she has never been able to walk. We hope we will get help.”

Mr Dube said his cousin has been afflicted with breast cancer since she was in Grade Three and back then, family members thought she had been bewitched.

He added that his cousin was staying with her mother and other family members who are also struggling to put food on the table.

“I have to travel daily from Cowdray Park and take her to the clinic because her breasts need to be drained and dressed daily. I live on piece jobs and so far we have only managed to raise money to take her for a breast scan and an X-ray.”

Mr Dube said the family could be contacted on +263733668621 or on +263778411845.

Mr Taurai Mpofu, a Bulawayo social welfare officer confirmed that the family was in dire need of cash and food.

“Their living conditions are deplorable and they are relying on the Government relief programme for food. They don’t have anything to eat besides the grain they get monthly and there is nothing much from our end that we can do for the family right now,” said Mr Mpofu.

Health practitioners in the country have said a majority of cancer patients delay seeking medical attention.

Recent statistics show that more than 80 percent of patients being attended to at the Mpilo Central Hospital Cancer Unit have stage three and four cancers.

At this stage, the cancer would have advanced so much that it is virtually incurable.

The unit is in dire need of quality control equipment to start administering nuclear treatment.

Stage three and four cancers require palliative treatment which is only meant to treat symptoms or ease pain until the patient dies.

Dr Tatenda Chingonzoh, who heads the radiotherapy department of the unit, said it is disheartening that most patients presented themselves at a time when little could be done to save them.

“We always had a large number of patients which we referred to Harare previously. The biggest problem now is that a large chunk of our patients are on palliative treatment,” said Dr Chingonzoh.

Breast and cervical cancer remain the leading causes of death among Zimbabwean women.
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