Cancer Survivor Tells Of Her Health Battle

Six years after her fight with breast cancer, 72-year-old Salote Qalo is living an active and healthy life.
26 Oct 2020 08:43
Cancer Survivor Tells Of Her Health Battle
Cancer survivor Salote Qalo. Photo: Inoke Rabonu

Six years after her fight with breast cancer, 72-year-old Salote Qalo is living an active and healthy life.

She said her secret was the decisive actions she took to co-operate with Fijian medical professionals and have the lump in her breast swiftly removed.

Ms Qalo, is now an active advocate of breast cancer awareness in the country.

She shared her testimony during the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Fiji Pinktober High Tea at the Holiday Inn last Friday.

The high tea raised more than $4000, which was donated to the Fiji Cancer Society.

“When I was told that I had cancer I was speechless, I didn’t know what to do, but I am grateful for the amazing support and advice that I was given by medical professionals during my treatment,” she said.

“I was told by the doctor when I was diagnosed that they needed to remove the lump, and that meant removing my left breast.

“Without thinking twice I made that decision because I knew it was the best for me.

“I came to the ward where cancer patients layed down and I saw some crying and moaning from pain and I said I would never go through what they were going through.”

She said the doctor’s decisive actions to operate swiftly shocked her.

“I underwent my operation, as I entered the theater and it was just state of the art.

“All the negative thoughts that came into my mind just went away and I felt well. I was looked after well after the surgery and did my exercise too.”

She said she followed her doctors advice well and now lives a healthy and active life.

Health service available free of charge

Fiji Cancer Society chief executive officer Belinda Chan confirmed that surgery and chemotherapy were available at the three divisional hospitals free of charge.

“That is something that the other end of the population does not really understand,” she said.

“The other issue that we see is late presentation of cases and there is limited access to palliative care.

“We are thankful to the Government through the Ministry of Health and Medical Services on the provision of a palliative nurse.”

She said as of September 2020, Fiji had 196 active cancer patients compared to 224 in 2019.

She said due to COVID-19 they had only managed to reach 2126 Fijians and help them understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Also due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been no surgery done and there is a backlog of surgeries required for patients.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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