It was in mid-2017 when Kelera Naborisi first felt a lump in her right breast, describing it as one of the most ‘terrifying’ moments of her life.
Naborisi, a Lecturer at the Fiji National University’s (FNU) College of Humanities and Education (CHE) is a survivor and shared her journey during the FNU Pinktober–Biggest Morning Tea hosted at the Derrick Campus in Samabula yesterday.
“At first, I was reluctant to talk about my experience because of the stigma associated with it.
However, I felt this would be a good platform; to thank God for His promise of being there for me through this valley of death, to encourage Fijian women and my work colleagues to seek medical advice and assistance early if they find lumps or suspicious growths in their breasts and to acknowledge support from my family and friends,” said the cancer survivor.
Despite knowing that lumps had developed, Naborisi said she was in denial for a few months before presenting herself at the hospital.
“In October 2017, I went to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH) breast clinic with a friend but was told to get a referral and return on Tuesday, the breast clinic day.
That stopped me from pursuing it further. It was life as usual, and I thought the cancer would go away, it didn’t,” she recalled.
In August 2018, FNU’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS) had organised a health screening for staff at the various Campuses.
It was then the Language Lecturer learned that she was considered a high-risk case. “My late mother, who was 74 years old at the time, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2018 while recuperating in the hospital from a bone fracture surgery.”
Naborisi was diagnosed with Stage 1 mucinous carcinoma cancer later that year. She battled cancer with her family members and God by her side. “I had put all my faith in the Lord, and I was having a more intimate time with Him and just letting Him take my hand through this difficult journey.”
Two weeks after the medical procedure, Naborisi was humbled to learn from Doctor Josese Turagava, the oncologist surgeon at the CWMH that her lymph nodes were clear from the cancer cells and she did not require chemotherapy. ‘’
I would like to encourage all Fijian women, who may be going through the same to come forward and seek medical advice and assistance early. And to never lose hope, to trust in God and He will give you strength and peace during this phase in your life,’’ she mentioned.
Oncology surgeon, Dr Josese Turagava who was present at the Pinktober morning tea, revealed that each year the CWM Hospital records 250-300 new cases of breast cancer.
Dr Turagava made a strong appeal to the women in Fiji to overcome the killer-disease by responding quickly during the early symptoms of breast cancer. “You may have heard it the whole of this month, however, let me reiterate that Breast cancer is curable, only if you present yourself early to the hospital,” highlighted the medical specialist.