Medical experts say there’s still a big misconception about cancer treatment in rural communities. They say although cancer medication is expensive, some people are afraid of chemotherapy.

Many cancer patients in rural areas still find it difficult to get treatment. As Breast Cancer Awareness month draws to a close, we take a look at cancer treatment – chemotherapy. This treatment uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer. We take a look at how two-time cancer survivor, Lindiwe Ntuli Tloabatla, deals with her cancer treatment.

The mother of two has been here before – but each time, it feels like the first time. 52-year-old Lindiwe Ntuli-Tloubatla was first diagnosed with cervical cancer in the year 2 000. Years later – it was discovered that the cancer spread to her ovaries – and now she’s battling Stage Four breast cancer.

Misconception about cancer treatment in rural communities:

Ntuli-Tloabatla is optimistic that she will beat it with the help of chemotherapy. “Chemo can be aggressive, especially if you’re dealing with aggressive cancer like mine.”

This morning, Ntuli was back in the doctor’s room getting her chemotherapy treatment. She says this treatment is not a walk in the park, as it can be gruelling and can take its toll on the body.

“The treatment itself will make you sick before you get better. People should be scared when they get sick it is because it is attacking blood cells. The counts go down when you’re on chemotherapy – you lose your hair. As you can see, I look beautiful with my bald hair, and your nails look dark, it’s part of the treatment.”

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Lebogang Motau on awareness and impact: 

This two-time cancer survivor urges those who have cancer to make sure that they get the right treatment. She says people should not only focus on misconceptions.

“There’s a lot of misconception when it comes to the treatment of cancer. People spread rumours that they burn you, and it’s not worth the treatment. But it worth it, it saves lives.”

Oncology nurse, Adelaide Parsons has encouraged those who are afraid of treatment to start with it as soon as possible.

“We have to convince them that is not a dangerous thing. Chemo works on your cancer cell or it can shrink the area, so when they leave here I receive chocolates.”

A year ago – the Mpumalanga Health Department officially opened the province’s first oncology centre. This was to help ease the burden previously faced by thousands of cancer patients – who had to travel to Gauteng for medical care.

Meanwhile – men are also encouraged to screen for breast cancer and other cancers as it also affects them.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Prof Jackie Smilg: