Breast cancer survivor and advocate, Mrs. Georgina Kumah-Dzagah

Breast cancer survivor and advocate, Georgina Kumah-Dzagah is urging families to support their relatives battling breast cancer.

She said such a support cannot be overemphasised.

Mrs Kumah-Dzagah said this in an interview with Edem Knight-Tay, host of Home Affairs on Joy FM.

Gina, as she prefers to be called, said women battling breast cancer disease who have the support of their family members always get the best outcome because they draw strength from them.

"Having your family support you make the journey less lonely," she revealed, sharing how some people's cases deteriorated because they were abandoned by their loved ones.

Gina also bemoaned the behaviour of husbands who tend to mistreat their wives battling the disease.

She recounted how in one particular case, the husband started mourning his wife by wearing black clothes and playing dirge music around her while she was still undergoing treatment.

Thankfully, she said the wife received some form of counselling, and she survived the disease.

Gina, the breast cancer warrior, also recounted her own story of hope and survival.

"I thought I was in control of my life, until in October 2016, when I felt this unusual pain in my right breast. I ignored it initially because it was a once-in-a-while kind of pain, but after some time, I realised the pain persisted," she narrated.

According to her, she felt a lump in her breast, but because she had just weaned her son, who was two years old, and thought it was just a sign of post-weaning.

Gina continued that she did self-medication for almost 3 months using corn dough, cabbage leaves, and anointing oil, to massage the breast, saying she regretted acting in ignorance, which could have cost her life.

According to Gina, in January 2018, she realised the pain was becoming unbearable, so she decided to see a doctor.

The breast cancer survivor said that the doctor did what he had to do; the clinical breast examination and ultrasound scan, and finally she was told it was an infection.

She was given antibiotics to treat it, but she noticed the doctor was not convinced with the results so he asked her to look out for further changes in the breast.

When she got home, she decided to read about the signs and symptoms the doctor asked her to look out for, and breast cancer just popped up.

Gina said she panicked, and that's when I started losing weight.

"I sought a second opinion, and when I met the doctor, I told him I had had this unusual pain in my breast for more than three months now, and I suspected it was breast cancer.

"So, I requested that they do all the necessary tests to ensure we clear all doubts that it wasn't breast cancer, but he said he wasn't sure it was breast cancer," Gina continued her story.

She mentioned that she was still not convinced with the examination method, so she sought a third and fourth opinion, but they all dismissed it because the earlier ultrasound scan did not detect anything.

The fourth doctor, however, requested a complimentary ultrasound scan and mammogram, which she did. The mammogram did not pick anything, but the ultrasound scan was highly suspicious of breast cancer.

"I had to do the biopsy, and it turned out negative. I was excited because that was what I was hoping and praying for, and I felt a lot more at peace because I knew the biopsy was going to give that conclusive confirmation that it wasn't breast cancer.

"Three days later, the doctor called me to tell me that he wanted me to repeat the biopsy because he was having sleepless nights.

"Although I hesitated, I still went for the second biopsy because I realised it was in my best interest. Unfortunately, the result came, and it was cancer," the breast cancer warrior stated sadly.

"I couldn't accept the result so I requested that I be allowed to do a third biopsy but the doctor told me not to worry because he was going to take out the lump for a pathologist to look into it for a lot more evidence as to what kind of cancer it was etc.

During the procedure to remove the lump, the doctors detected another form of cancer in the breast.

"So at that point, my doctor said he had to refer me to Korle-Bu because it was possible I could do Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal therapy.

"But I told him I wasn't going to do all that because the side effects as he explained them didn't sound pleasant and I didn't have the strength to undergo those treatments," she narrated.

Regarding how she got her family involved in her journey, she said that her husband was not aware of the lump and its painful nature in the early stages.

When she informed him, he was supportive and there for her throughout the period.

Gina said her husband didn't want to see her broken, so anytime he saw that she was quiet and was by herself, he'd say, "Are you not a child of God? What you are going through is nothing," just to encourage her.

So gradually, she was forced to be strong for herself and her family.

When asked about how she broke the news to her children, Gina said, she sat them down and told them that she had cancer.

She added that just like she was able to survive other surgeries, she was going to survive breast cancer too so she needed them to keep her in their prayers and it worked.

It is Gina's desire as an advocate to see every woman survive breast disease and to give hope to women who are going through the fight.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.