Mrs. Betty Akeredolu is the wife of the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN). She revealed how she survived an encounter with the disease.

I said, "Remove the damn thing . . ." – Mrs Betty Akeredolu on surviving breast cancer

“I am a breast cancer survivor, 20 years now and still counting. It all started in 1997 when I was diagnosed with it. I never knew anyone who had that experience and the little information I got from the cable television stations wasn’t something we were familiar with.

“That morning when I felt something in my breast, of course, my mind raced to breast cancer because of where the thing was located. I was scared because I didn’t know what to do. It happened when I was resting at home during my annual leave. It got me thinking of what to do if it turned out to be breast cancer.

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“My little children came to my mind; I thought of what would become of them.

“I kept it to myself for almost one week. I didn’t know what to do. My baby was four years old or thereabout. I tuned to television one morning and what I heard was a programme being advertised that it could save one’s life. Immediately I heard that, I just stood up from the bed and sat down, wondering what the programme was all about. It happened to be a programme about a breast cancer survivor’s journey. I cannot explain such a coincidence.

“It really saved my life. There was this white woman on the show and it was her journey through breast cancer that was on air. She happened to be the mother of popular Hollywood actors, the Bubbling Brothers; they are popular in Hollywood.

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“She went through the treatment and then called herself a survivor. She was sharing her experience to the world. She used the chronicle of her journey to lift up the spirit of those undergoing such experience and I benefitted from it. That was how I summoned the courage to go to the hospital. I said whatever this woman did to survive and ensure her story’s positive impact on other women suffering from same ailment, I am going to be like her.

“It was after the examination that the doctor again confirmed there was a lump. Even at that stage, he didn’t know what it was. I want to quickly emphasise something; it is part of the awareness campaign on breast cancer – that when a woman notices a lump in her breast, she cannot say what that lump is until she sees a doctor. It is the doctor that will recommend a test. It is after the test that she can know whether what she has is breast cancer or not.

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“When I told my husband, he was scared but he didn’t know that I had been fortified by the TV programme I watched. I think he must have wondered where I got the strength because I was on my feet and already prepared that whatever that woman did, I was going to do it and be okay.

“From then, my treatment commenced. The next line of treatment was mastectomy. By then, the level of my breast health care was at the rudimentary level. That was in 1997. It was still the same radical mastectomy; I said remove the damn thing if that would make me live. We did that and the rest is history.”

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