Eastern Cape woman battles benign jaw tumour

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A 30-year-old Whittlesea woman in the Eastern Cape is living a hopeless life as she battles a benign tumour in the jaw area near the molars in the mouth. The tumour has now forced her to be homebound.

Nosiphiwo Ndzundzu developed an ameloblastoma tumour in 2019, following a sharp pain in her right-hand side jawline due to her dental complications.

Hospitals in the Eastern Cape have fallen short in assisting Ndzundzu’s condition due to a lack of capacity to carry out the needed surgery.

Nosiphiwo Ndzundzu was set to pursue an education degree at the University Of Fort Hare in 2019, but the benign tumour has forced a hold on her dreams.

This painful lump has rearranged her teeth, badly affecting her speech and her ability to chew.

She says her self-esteem has dropped immensely due to the stigma she’s had to endure in the community.

“I used to sing in the church choir; I can’t anymore. I can’t eat the things I love. I stopped eating an apple; I eat only soft food, like banana mageu. I can’t eat red meat. I only eat chicken.”

She says she is concerned about the impact of her condition on the livelihood of her two children.

“I have two kids, and I am very scared for them; even if there are school meetings, I don’t think I can go there because people will start talking about me. I have a 1-year-old boy; he is soon going to start school and is going to attend those meetings.”

Hospitals in the Eastern Cape have no capacity to remove the tumour, but the spokesperson for the Department of Health in the province, Yonela Dekeda, says the department has a plan.

The department has been engaging with the Western Cape Department of Health and other specialists who can perform this complicated surgery. As soon as the specialists are available, as they are in other provinces, the patient will be operated on, with any associated costs covered by the State.

The department has outsourced 12 specialists from Tshwane to successfully remove the tumour; the operation will be conducted at Frere Hospital in East London.