Zoleka Mandela recently celebrated six years cancer free and she shared this in an Instagram post, marking her recovery journey.
The 38-year-old shared a lengthy post on how she beat cancer twice and it couldn’t have a come at a more perfect time with October being breast cancer awareness month.
In the post, which features collaged images of her cancer journey, Zoleka detailed how she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time in March 2012 at the age of 32 and had both her breasts surgically removed,
“I had a Bilateral Mastectomy (removal of both my breasts and breast tissue with immediate reconstruction, performed by Dr. Slabbert – tissue expanders were then inserted and replaced with breast implants soon after.”
The activist who penned her first breast cancer diagnosis in her memoir When Hope Whispers, also explained the difficulties she faced during that period following the loss of her son and daughter prior to her first diagnosis – even refusing cancer treatment for three months,
“I had refused treatment for the Cancer for 3 months – I had given up, lost faith and wanted to die. I was lucky, privileged and remain blessed to this day, I have my son, Zwelami to thank for saving my life.”
Over the years Zoleka has used herInstagram to document her cancer journey, in the post she uses a collection of collaged snaps showing her breasts prior to the bilateral mastectomy as well as after the reconstruction and pictures of herself during cycles of chemotherapy.
“After 16 cycles of Chemotherapy…I was declared Cancer free,” added Zoleka in the detailed post.
It was 16 April in 2016 when she was re-diagnosed with breast cancer but luckily this was an early detection and she underwent 30 radiation treatments and is currently living cancer free,
“I was re-diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Following more Chemotherapy treatments at Donald Gordon Medical Centre, I underwent 30 Radiation treatments with Dr. Dino Chetty,” Zoleka captioned the detailed post.
“…I am a two time Breast Cancer survivor and currently living my life Cancer free!”
Zoleka once got candid on camera during an interview on Afternoon Express about how her late grandmother Winnie Mandela had refused to read her memoir which detailed her struggles with sobriety, cancer journey and the loss of two children.
See Zoleka’s full post below.
View this post on Instagram
Repost from @whatcancernaija using @RepostRegramApp – #Repost @zolekamandela (@get_repost) ・・・ Today marks 6yrs since I was 1st diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I was diagnosed by Dr. Carol Benn at Milpark Hospital, on the 15th of March 2012 and at the age of 32. 9 months prior to my diagnosis, I had buried my son Zenawe who turns 7 this year in Heaven. A year before that, I buried my daughter Zenani who turns 21yrs old this year in Heaven. I had a Bilateral Mastectomy (removal of both my breasts and breast tissue with immediate reconstruction, performed by Dr. Slabbert – tissue expanders were then inserted and replaced with breast implants soon after. I had refused treatment for the Cancer for 3 months – I had given up, lost faith and wanted to die. I was lucky, privileged and remain blessed to this day, I have my son, Zwelami to thank for saving my life. After 16 cycles of Chemotherapy and under the care of Dr. Georgia Demetriou, I was declared Cancer free and (naturally) gave birth to my daughter, Zanyiwe a year after. Prior to my first treatment, I had my eggs and embryos frozen at a local fertility clinic. On the 6th of April 2016, I was re-diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Following more Chemotherapy treatments at Donald Gordon Medical Centre, I underwent 30 Radiation treatments with Dr. Dino Chetty. Although early detection, giving back to the Cancer community as well as the medical team I have been blessed with, have also played a part in being the reason I'm alive today, family support and faith, that I believe is just as crucial as treatment for the disease, continues to be the reason why I am a two time Breast Cancer survivor and currently living my life Cancer free! #KnowYourCancer #SilenceCancer #BreastCancerSurvivor #BreastImplants #BreastTissueExpanders ##TwoTimeBreastCancerSurvivor #Chemotherapy #Radiation #LuminalBCancer #LuminalTypeBMammaryCarcinoma #BilateralMastectomy #LifeAfterBreastCancer #SurvivingBreastCancer #ChildDeath #ZenaniMandela #ZenaweMandela #WhenHopeWhispers #ZolekaMandela #ZolekaMandelaFoundation #whatcancernaija #breastcancerinnigeria #breastcancerinformation
According to Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), “approximately 19.4 million women aged 15 years and older live at-risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Which is why pharmaceutical stores such as Clicks have come together with CANSA to conduct breast examinations for women especially because 1 in 27 women of all races have a lifetime risk of breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Registry (NCR).