“I thought I was too young for cancer” - 24-year-old Innocentia Mahlangu

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How old where you when you first suspected that you might have cancer?

I was 20 years old, a year after giving birth to my daughter and had just gone back to school.

What were the symptoms?

I randomly touched my breasts and felt had three lumps on my left breast. Initially I thought nothing of it, and then thought it might have developed because I didn’t breastfeed my daughter. As time past by my left hand had a problem on lifting things that's when I decided to go for a check up where I was diagnosed.

Did you think it was cancer when you first saw the lump?

No I didn't think I had cancer because of my age, I just thought I was too young.

What was the first thing that came to mind when you found out?

Death was the first thing that came to my mind. I was worried about my daughter who was too young at the time.

What was the procedure thereafter?

I had chemotherapy for two years then I also had mastectomy on my left breast with reconstruction on 14 September 2015.

Did you think you’d survive it?

I didn't think that I would survive because chemotherapy was making me very sick. I felt weak and was struggling to manage daily activities. I also didn’t look like self and felt ugly, couldn't even look at myself in the mirror. What kept me going was my daughter who gave me all reason to keep pushing at all times.

How has your life changed since the diagnoses?

I had to grow at a young age, knowing that I was given a second chance to live. I feel like I was given a test and I have passed with exemption. It has also encouraged me to take good care of myself and treasure good health.

What advice would you give someone who might be going through the same thing?

In life you should expect the unexpected, all you have to do is accept and move on take your medication and have faith, your doctors are your answers in every question you might have.

It is women’s month and you are part of the Twinsaver’s #CelebrateWomen campaign. Please complete the following sentence “Celebrate women...

…because they are the mothers and futures mothers of our nation. They are the nature who continue to spread the love effortlessly everyday.

Innocentia is one of the 18 women who are part of Twinsaver’s #CelebrateWomen campaign aimed at honouring inspirational women. The campaign will launches during women’s month through Twinsaver special edition Twin Ply toilet paper packaging has been especially designed to highlight breast cancer awareness during women’s month. The roll has a Floral Fresh, lightly scented pink core, designed to gently release a fresh fragrance. The special edition packs (Image attached) will be available for purchase in all major retailers from August 2017. For every pack sold, Twinsaver will donate R2 to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) - these funds will go towards supporting women with breast cancer.

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