Foundation reaches out to African women with breast cancer

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Olive Demdy has been given a chance at life.

In her native Sierra Leone, Demdy, diagnosed with breast cancer this year, had very few options to combat the disease.

“We don’t get chemotherapy at home, just a mastectomy. They give you pain medication and wait for your last breath,” said Demdy, who lived a life of ostracism soon after her surgery in February.

“When you are diagnosed with cancer, people believe you are not going to survive,” she said. “They treat you as a living ghost. Most people don’t come around.”

Her plight captures the predicament of many women in West Africa, chiefly due to the misconceptions and myths surrounding the disease, said Juliet Aguwa, a native of Nigeria, who moved to the United States 16 years ago and now resides in the Milwaukee area.