How I survived cancer- Wole Soyinka

The Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, on Tuesday disclosed that he is a cancer survivor.

He disclosed that he battled with cancer and survived only after receiving vigorous medications.

Mr. Soyinka spoke at a press conference at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He said the disease was first diagnosed in December 2013 and thanks to the early detection and compliance with medications, which he completed on October 28, he became free of the ailment last month.

He noted that the diseases was not a death sentence.

“For me, this is not a decision which I like but I felt I have all obligation, being a member of African Cancer Centre, and also having even donated a performance during the festival, fund raising for cancer, I am under obligation to make it known and to also demystify cancer,” he said.

“Many people feel it is a death sentence. Family feel it; friends, colleagues, they begin to look at you as if you are a ghost once there is rumour you have cancer. No, cancer is not a death sentence, it is curable, I have undergone the treatment and I am able to tell you that I even have a model, that’s my certificate.”


He said he had a good reason for getting personal about it as a few years ago he was invited to become a board member of the Africa Cancer Centre and even delivered the inaugural lecture: Cancers, Lifestyles.

“It never occurred to me to test myself because men have their separate test like women,” he said. “And I have heard people who lost very dear ones, closed ones. They just told me, ‘Prof, we hope you’re having your own?’ And I told them I had one 10 years ago and he said, “No, no, do it regularly.” And by accident in December last year, I discovered that I had cancer.”

Mr. Soyinka said he was interested in using himself to encourage others to take whatever tests are available to them but more importantly to encourage those in charge of health matters to take seriously the cancer menace.

“The important thing is that I am convinced that we have enough funds in this nation to build cancer centres, including research that this nation require,” he said. “It is very capital intensive, some of it, but there are many ways and treatments for cancer just like there are many kinds of cancer. Even diet forms an important part. Diet is critical.”

Mr. Soyinka told PREMIUM TIMES that when he was first diagnosed he considered the disease a nuisance.

“I just felt that it was a nuisance,” he said. “There were a lot of things I wanted to do and it was disrupting my normal existence. I just felt I should start re-adjusting. I just saw it another challenge in life.”

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