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15-Year-Old Cancer Survivor: “It’s a journey of hope and perseverance”

June 22, 2023

15-Year-Old Cancer Survivor: “It’s a journey of hope and perseverance” - featured image

At 15, Qiniso Modlane was diagnosed with stage three nasopharyngeal cancer. His is a story of survival and hope. Today, at 21 years old, his cancer is in remission but it is his positive outlook that is most infectious.

“It was a positive diagnoses. [The tumour] was still small,” he told Busamed at our World Cancer Survivors’ event hosted at Busamed Modderfontein Private Hospital.

Qiniso said that he began to feel unwell and experienced severe headaches and pain in his neck which was investigated.The investigation found that he had a tumour which when located was biopsied. After the results were returned it was clear that urgent treatment would be needed. Qiniso began radiation and chemotherapy to treat the cancer.

With the symptoms he had, Qiniso said he struggled at school and couldn’t keep up with his classmates. After the diagnosis, and despite the terrible news, he and the family felt a sense of relief for having known the cause of the problem. “Now, I could focus on the treatment to get better,” he said.

While Qiniso faced challenges of a lower immune system during his treatment, he said he was well supported. It was not uncommon for him to be admitted into the ICU after receiving chemotherapy as the treatment made him extremely ill.

Qiniso went into remission at age 17 and has lived cancer-free since then. He says he is working through some of his post-cancer complications which include some physiological and cognitive constraints, but he is maintaining a positive outlook on life.

“I still get infections in my throat and struggle to swallow and speak properly as my mandible joint locks. These infections have also affected my hearing [and I am now] hearing impaired and I use a hearing aid.”

These challenges have not hindered his dream to go back to school.

“My family – mom, aunty and older sister – got me through the difficult days and motivated me. The four of us have always been very close and they supported me and each other through this journey. I also gym all day, play soccer and spend time with my dog,” he said.

Qiniso says that when a cancer diagnosis is made, it is vitally important for patients to attend their treatment sessions and to know that cancer is not a death sentence. “They (patients) are stronger than this disease. If I could beat it, so can they.”

Qiniso continues to screen for cancer every six months to ensure that if there are any changes, he catches it early and can take the necessary routes for treatment

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