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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  • __Proudly Niger Deltan

    It is ok you are free from cancer. Congratulations ‘Prof’!…but what of my people in Niger Delta who drink polluted water with cancer causing toxins spilled into our rivers by the environmental terrorists- Shell, Chevron, Eni, Exxonmobil etc…even if they get cured like you, they will be infected again once they bathe in or drink from the rivers and even so, when they eat the sea animals. This is why the Niger Delta wants its own county.

    • D1

      One cannot be infected by cancer, it arises from abnormal cells in the body. Of course, there are risk factors, toxins from polluted water may be one of them but often times the cause is unknown and maybe due to aging.

      There is no where it is documented eating periwinkles or fish from oil polluted water, ever can cause cancer, and for them to survive the polluted water depicts no or less danger to Human consumption.

      Finally, I used to reside in PH, Borokiri to be precise, one thing I observed, digging a well, will still give oil polluted water, which makes the water undrinkable and produces a ‘Hard water’, which makes washing soaps, not to lather.

      I am not trying to infer that, there are no oil spills, but the fact that the SS area is geographically in the delta of the Niger, makes it automatically prone to oil pollutions.

      • __Proudly Niger Deltan

        May thunder locate your teeth. See how you attempted to paint black to white. Your tactic, just like the divide and rule which FGN used to keep the people of Niger Delta fighting themselves while they, FGN, plundered the resources. But the people soon realized and instead of fighting themselves came together to fight the common enemy – the Nigerian illegal explorers and thier environmental terrorist oil companies. Visit youtube and type “Oil spills in the Niger Delta”…and then watch the horror of seeing dead bodies , dead fish, dead crab etc …all from pollution…and you come here to write rubbish.

        Which research have you done and how many have you read about since you arrived this earth? If you are not current about issues regarding my Niger Delta and pollution, it will be ok to shut up your mouth. It is not uncommon to catch fish in River Ethiope, Bodo & other rivers in my Niger Delta and discover that such fish have only one eye…and you need research to confirm what caused the deformity. Better warn yourself

        • D1

          There is no reason to be insulting and at the same time show your crass ignorance, it only depicts where you are coming from, the lowest of the low.

          I only gave you facts, which is obviously strange to you. If oil pollutions, cause cancer, it will have been documented and there will be high rate of all types of cancers in the SS ever seen, and people succumbing to it like ebola! The incidence of cancer in SS is not different from anywhere in Nigeria.

          Discovering one eye fish in river Ethiope and others, is no big deal! If you think so, then you need a lot of education from Discovery channel.

          Don’t get me wrong. I know a lot about the hazards of Oil spills, and its consequence. If you know my specialty, you will understand.

          Lastly, I won’t trade words back and forth with you, I know your kind. Stop the threat, it won’t get you anywhere!

          • tundemash

            you are exchanging words with a dud ! Anything outside ethnic and religious sentiment will have his polluted brain overheating !

          • Proudly Niger Deltan

            …and that is why a ‘5 star General’ from your village will kneel down and be begging a major…and asking for tissue paper to clean up the tears bcos he is afraid of bullet…indeed I cant have such ‘under-heating brain’

            ….and that is why the throne of the Oba in ur Ilorrin is occupied by an alien Emir. Nonsense!

          • __Proudly Niger Deltan

            By the same token, the Niger Delta and/or the South East breaking away and running their own countries is ‘no big deal’. If you doubt me, ‘you need a lot of education’ on Discovery channel about the history of India/Pakistan, Pakistan/Bangladesh, Sudan/South Sudan, Czech/Slovak, Russia/Ukraine, etc etc etc

            …and by the way, keep your ‘specialty’ for inside your pocket. Its completely useless to me.

      • MrFesh

        Just make sure you don’t engage bad chemicals. In short and come back to tell us if cancer can’t ‘infect’ you. I wonder how people open their mouths and spill faeces. And some idiout is thumbing it up. Abi you thumbed yourself up.

  • Jerry

    @proudly niger deltan, what is soyinka’s problem in your insinuations. you are free to go your way and remember to take your dumbo brother with you.

    • _Proudly Niger Deltan

      What is your problem with my insinuations? Something dey do you? Na so money loss for ITT and people were clapping and dancing and would say…’He is the richest man in africa’…but that was the very first corruption in millions in Nigeria…and it grew to what it is today…keep the gods…and treat them so….at your own peril.

      You hear soyinka name, then your sense run enter ‘zero’….no be the same man stand dey clap the day Judas Iscariot of Port Harcourt dey confess say him be thief? Orhue!

  • Oluwadara

    Hard luck prof. But my advice for you is, put on all that you need to put in your will. Cos Steve job dies few months after making the same statement you are making now. Cancer is very tricky it may decide to return.


      Prof Soyinka is already 80,he should go on and live out his life without spending time thinking about cancer,thank goodness he survived…..the cancer is not coming back !

  • Denrele

    Excuse me sir,


    Please help us in Lagos state. The cancer we have here is too serious!
    It is the cancer of stealing by Lagos state state APC government officials.
    We sent Freedom of Information petition to Alhaji Raji Fashola for accounts.
    He refused to give us or anybody in Lagos state any income-expenditure account.

    We sued him to court last year but Lagos state High Courts are not independent.
    The lady Judge said she would not hear our petition at all; so what do we do?
    Should we start an armed struggle or start a guerilla warfare to get Lagos account?
    We must see the Lagos state income-expenditure account for us to become cancer-free.

    • Georgy

      @ Denrele,

      See you! Is it only Lagos Judges that are puppets? You are not serious. How about Justice Buba
      in the Federal High Court. Did Justice Buba not set free Adeyemi Ikuforiji for taking and spending
      over ₦560 million anyhow, without going through any bank?

      Justice Buba made me so angry when he said it is okay for Adeyemi Ikuforiji to do that since the money
      belongs to Lagos state government for official use. What nonsense! That means Raji Fashola can take
      the whole federal allocation to Lagos, put it in his bedroom, and start spending it in cash anyhow, without
      paying anybody with cheques. Not so?

      If Justice Buba can think very well he should have asked himself: “How will the Lagos accounts be audited,
      without bank tellers and bank statements?” This is how our judiciary destroyed Nigeria with crooked thinking.

      • Dammy

        “The only way to stop us from stealing is to stone us. The Nigerian followers
        are as guilty as the Nigerian leaders. The Nigerian institutions are compromised
        and there is no alternative to them as it is. Nigerians appear not to be against stealing
        and corruption but only against how long you stay stealing and being corrupt.
        Don’t ever expect those in public office to fight corruption on these facts.”

        ….…..Governor Rotimi Amaechi
        (Rivers state)

        (June 30th, 2014)

  • the truth

    Jonathan must be blamed for this cancer!!!!

    • tundemash

      Cl0wn e-rat, you got nothing sensible to say! Where is your fake “neurtrality” ? Or is Wole Soyinka a member of APC too ?
      Your GEJ was just found claiming glory for projects delivered by Kano state govt but you had no comment there ! Nyanya alleged bomber was just freed by the court because of non-diligence by the prosecution; they are too busy carrying out the Emperor’s wish of harassing the opposition !

      • the truth

        see how daft you are, soyinka’s daughter (runke) and his son are commisioners under which government? is it an apc or pdp government? when you answer those questions report back to your master. I hope they have paid u well today for the posts, we all know your many akas on this site

        • tundemash

          What a clown !!!! So because Soyinka’s son/daughter are commissioners under an APC gov, that automatically translates to their father being a member or sympathiser of that party ….. some people should be banned from reasoning; you qualify (cr. @Wahala).

          Olofo …. prove my many akas just as I usually expose your fellow e-rats with verifiable facts.

          Anyway , this was about WS surviving cancer… how in the world that concerns GEJ and politics can only be understood by a feeble mind like you.

    • Warri Boy

      Yes o! Jonathan and his PDP are doing nothing about the cancers. Vote ‘apc’ and there will be nobody with cancer again. In fact apc will cure all diseases in 3 months.

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  • Sharia_Haram

    Who cares? You are becoming a problem to Nigeria as a Nation.

  • emmanuel anizoba

    Our pothead decision-makers seem to love re-inventing the wheel. I was amazed to note that we already had the INEC database that led to the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) when our clueless CBN came up with the Bank Verification Number (BVN). it would have been time and cost saving to use the INEC database which contains bio data for all Nigerians that have attained voting age; any gaps in the INEC database would be quickly plugged by field visits. But no! We must start afresh and re-award data collection contracts, create clutter and add no value. For a census, we may still use the INEC database and fill the gaps, as INEC did, by going to the field with data-capturing portable devices. Cheers!

    • emmanuel

      i beg to differ with you on using INECs very tainted biodata for BVN or National statistics. We watched Jega’s election with little kids who voted.
      Meanwhile, the BVN thing was partly to checkmate fraud and proceeds of corrupt enrichments that has had tremendous impact..
      Consequently, our census must be done with integrity!

      • emmanuel anizoba

        Re-read my post to see that I am not advocating a wholesale adoption of the INEC database. My point is that the INEC database has all the bio data required to kickoff and even complete the hassle-ladden BVN exercise. Bank customers had to line up under rain and sun in a bid to have their fingerprints recorded. We open bank accounts with passport photos, names, addresses but no fingerprints are given. The INEC database has passport photos, names, addresses and fingerprints. So, I can use a small computer program to match Banks / INEC databases with a view to extracting the missing bio data from the INEC file and transferring them to that of Banks. No starting all over to re-invent the wheel! And by the way, Prof Jega is a complete professional despite our prejudices. Cheers!