World Cancer Day is an international day marked on February 4, to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment it is led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).
Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the world (the first being heart disease) and statistics show that in 2018, about 700,000 people died from cancer in Africa alone, in countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Ethiopia.
Folio.ng decided to mark this World Cancer Day by sharing Toritseju Olaitan’s story, a Human Resources Manager whose husband Dapo fought a 4-year battle with cancer until he passed. Toritseju and Dapo were married for 11 years.
She says, “In 2013, the Doctors had diagnosed Neuroendocrine Cancer in the pancreas – it was slow-growing cancer which could stay undetected until it was too late”
“A few months later, in May, when the medical team was not making headway with the chemotherapy they decided to explore surgery (if a surgeon could agree) they wanted to try something called a Whipple Surgery and the risks were extremely high. In addition, they would need to reconstruct the major vein and artery the tumor was resting on because there was no way to go around them. After thinking, praying about it and researching the scary procedure for some days, Dapo decided to take the risk and go under the knife. For the first time after the initial sojourn in 2012, he started talking about the possibility of death”
Toritseju talks about her husband in fond ways, recounting how she marked Valentine’s day and even their anniversary, postpartum on Dear Dapo, a blog dedicated to her late husband, containing series like The Freshly Bereaved, The Absent Lover, etc. Dear Dapo draws the reader in and takes the reader on the roller-coaster journey of cancer and cancer treatments.
Smoking, drinking, excessive exposure to sunlight, lack of exercise, and unhealthy diets have been linked to several forms of cancer but on a brighter note, statistics in recent times have shown that survival rates are improving as a result of technological advancements in the medical field.