Siphathisiwe Sibanda

Breast cancer patienta��s call for help

Vendetta Mtunzi
A VENDOR from Mpopoma in Bulawayo is bed-ridden, unable to move a muscle after she stopped her chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer due to a lack of money.

Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer is a tumour that develops from breast tissue, the one that Siphathisiwe Sibanda ( pictured above) has.

According to the 55-year-old woman, she is as good as waiting for death if a miracle does not happen to pay for her treatment.

a�?From what I have heard in the past cancer is a disease for the rich a�� which of course left me and my family stunned when I was diagnosed with it. I am just a vendor struggling to make ends meet.

a�?At first, I thought the doctors had made a mistake but as I did blood tests it was official that I had breast cancer,a�? she added.

Sibanda went on to explain how her journey unravelled.

a�?It was in 2014 when a doctor confirmed that the lump on my breast was cancer. I was still able to work as a vendor hence I managed to save some money for treatment until my breasts were removed as part of treatment,a�? she said.

A little too late?

a�?When the treatment went on the doctors later found out that I had been late to undergo the breast surgery and that my cancer had spread all over a�� more money was required for further treatment,a�? added Sibanda.

Sibanda said her illness worsened through the years especially as she could not raise enough money for timely treatment.

a�?I worked to acquire money for the treatment but as a vendor I couldna��t raise enough funds. The injections and tests for my illness range from $200 to $800 a�� the cost keeps increasing,a�? added Sibanda.

Sadly she has no children to help her.

a�?I was never blessed with children for the 55 years of my life hence it has always been up to me to look after myself. I come from a very underprivileged family and they have tried to go on the streets asking for donations a�� sometimes it helps a�� sometimes it doesna��t.a�?

Rosemary, her sister, said as a family they were still in shock.

a�?When my sister was diagnosed we asked the doctors to check again as we never believed as poor as we are such a plague would strike in the family. Some of our relatives dona��t even understand it up to now as they say the disease is pure witchcraft,a�? said Rosemary.

Rosemary said her sister had given up on life.

a�?Shea��s struggling, we are in need of a wheelchair, clothes, food and funds to enable her to finish her chemotherapy.

Imagine she always tells me how much she wishes she could just rest in peace and not trouble anyone a�� those words are haunting me,a�? added Rosemary.

Since getting half her treatment, things have gone from bad to worse.

a�?She only underwent four cycles instead of eight and ever since the treatment stopped she is getting worse by the day. We dona��t know how long she has left, especially now that she cana��t move a muscle. We are asking for assistance from anyone who can support us so that my sister can finish her chemotherapy,a�? said Rosemary.

Mpilo Hospital clinical director Solwayo Ngwenya suggested that the Sibanda family should approach the Social Welfare Department.

a�?Cases like this are critical and require immediate medical attention, and when patients do not afford such treatments we encourage them to visit the social welfare where they will be assisted financially,a�? he said.

But she has been to the Social Welfare Department and things didna��t go as planned.

a�?I was given a form to get free treatment but at Mpilo Hospital they rejected it a�� saying the form was not payment as they wanted money a�� this is the reason why I am asking the public to help me now,a�? added Sibanda.