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Breast Cancer in Kenya: Wanjiru Githuka’s Cancer Story


46 year-old Wanjiru Githuka is a career woman working in agricultural development. She is also a mother of two: a son and daughter. Wanjiru is also a cancer survivor. This is her story.   

“In December 2013, I did my usual self- breast examination and thought that I felt something. I immediately went to see a doctor but a lump was ruled out, thank God. However, in May 2014, I thought I felt a lump again. I went to see a different doctor in Kampala where I work. The doctor felt something too. Of course it wouldn’t be anything, I thought to myself, because there was no cancer history in my family and besides, I lived a relatively healthy life, I was careful about what I ate and drunk and was active. If at all it was anything, it couldn’t be cancer, I thought.

Nevertheless, the doctor sent me for a mammogram. The results indicated a lump in my left breast. I even went for an ultrasound which confirmed the lump, then I was sent for a biopsy.

Additional Lumps in my Breast

After the biopsy procedure, my doctor insisted on giving me sick leave as I waited for the results. It was the longest period of my life -the anxiety was too much. Meanwhile, I developed two other lumps in the same breast, which were very painful. Finally, one week later, I got a text message from the lab that the results were out. Despite my natural curiosity to quickly open and read the results, I surprised myself by actually waiting for the doctor to open them himself and give me the results.

“I have some good news and bad news for you, Wanjiru”, the doctor said.

“The bad news is that you have cancer. The good news is that it’s not the bad type”.

I froze, wondering if there was any ‘good cancer’. The diagnosis shattered my world. I went home, locked myself in my room and cried for hours. I cried for me. I cried for my children. I cried for my mum who had already buried three of her six children. But soon, I knew that I had to collect myself since my daughter would be arriving home from school at 4pm and I didn’t want her to see me crying. I would fight this thing to the end.

Watching Mexican Soaps

When my daughter arrived home, I explained to her that I had to leave for Nairobi to undergo a surgery. My son was a candidate and I knew that if I told my daughter, then it was as good as telling him. As a mother, I didn’t want the news to affect his performance. That evening, I travelled to Nairobi.

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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.


  1. when wanjiru Githuka told me about her ailment,she joked,’msoh,am getting married..’ haha,i was happy for her,slowly and quite serious,she shared this terrific story.I am glad that through her journey she inspired many,she always reminds me,of my mantra…’I am a conqueror,in all’.
    To all cancer patients,cancer is healed,no matter what stage you are in,just be positive..Positivity creates bridges to attaining n achieving more of our prayers and dreams.

    Muthoni Mugai(Wanjiru Githuka’s niece)


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