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World Cancer Day: Zambian Cancer Survivors Tell their Stories


In this article, four cancer survivors, Ashleigh, Pamela, Evelyn and Kamunthowa talk about their experience with cancer and the support they received from the Cancer Diseases Hospital in Zambia.

The Cancer Diseases Hospital in Lusaka is Zambia’s only cancer treatment centre offering radiation therapy to the country’s 14 million people. In 2017, the hospital marked its tenth anniversary, having diagnosed and treated over 17 000 people in its first decade.

The IAEA has assisted the Cancer Diseases Hospital establish safe and effective radiotherapy services, and has provided extensive technical support and specialist training since planning for the hospital began in 2002. The IAEA also supported Zambia by assessing their national cancer control capacities and needs (imPACT Review), and training health professionals in palliative care, cervical cancer screening and cancer skills for community health workers.

My dreams were put on hold

Ashleigh was 15 when doctors told her she had cancer. Leaving her cherished home and school was just the start of her life-changing journey to recovery. Read more →

A delay in treatment can mean your life

Pamela had previously experienced non-cancerous lumps in her breast. She therefore didn’t take this latest one so seriously until her health began to deteriorate. Read more →

I now have a future and want to help others

Evelyn enjoyed a normal life in Zambia’s Copperbelt until health problems started to take over. She tells of great courage to stay healthy and motivated, while dealing with TB, HIV and then cancer. Read more →

I am so happy I can see my children grow up

Kamunthowa never thought cancer could be so destructive. His gratitude at being one of the first Zambians to receive treatment at the Cancer Diseases Hospital is overwhelming. He can now be there for his family. Read more →

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