Global Voices Against Cancer

"Just one of life's challenges"

By: Raynolda Makhutle | Cervical Cancer | South Africa


Even though she had suffered pain and complications since age 15, Raynolda was not diagnosed with her cervical cancer until she was 40. Her doctor had never even suggested a Pap smear. Raynolda was angry, frustrated and lacking information about her newly diagnosed condition. Then things got worse. Following cervical cancer surgery, her doctor discovered tumors on her ovaries and suggested a hysterectomy, which carries a stigma in her country.
These challenges were compounded by mounting medical bills, the struggle of raising two daughters, and lack of financial support from her husband and in-laws. Faith, however, has helped her through these challenges, and she is now giving back through the South African Voice of Cancer Survivor Empowerment Initiative.

What has been the hardest part of your cancer experience?
“The stigma. In our culture, when you lose a womb you are stigmatized. You are not seen as a complete woman. I needed strong faith to overcome this trauma.”

What did you learn from your cancer experience?
“Cancer is not a death sentence. It’s just one of many challenges that life presents.”

What message of hope can you offer others?
“I’m still alive, and blessed with six grandchildren, including a set of twins.  I’m hoping to make a difference in people’s lives.”

What changes would you like to see your government make in the fight against cancer?
“I would like the government to help families that are being financially devastated, and educate citizens so that the stigma of cancer disappears.”

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