Wole Soyinka Battles Cancer
Soyinka, who celebrated his 80th birthday in July, is a renowned and respected playwright, poet, essayist and activist. Born in Ogun State, he became the first African to have been awarded the Nobel prize in literature (1986).
Soyinka spoke about the ailment today at the June 12 Cultural Center in Ogun State. He said he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer last December, according to Sahara Reporters.
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He added that early detection and proper nutrition helped him to remain stable.
Soyinka stressed the importance of awareness and preventative measures in stopping the disease progressing.
While initially he felt that cancer was “an unwanted squatter in his body”, he later resolved that he “had to get rid of it whether it is a slow growing one or malignant”, the Nobel Prize winner confessed.
The Nation reports that the founder of African Cancer Centre, Lagos, Prof. Olu Williams, assured Soyinka that he would “not die of cancer”, but would only “die with the ailment”.
Meanwhile Soyinka's son Olaokun Soyinka, who is Commissioner for Health in Ogun State, later confirmed to the newsmen that his father was treated for prostate cancer.
It could not be learnt however at what stage the ailment was.
Premium Times adds that the Nobel laureate also explained that cancer should not be considered a death sentence.
“Many people feel it is a death sentence. Family feel it; friends, colleagues, they begin to look at you as if you are a ghost once there is rumour you have cancer. No, cancer is not a death sentence, it is curable, I have undergone the treatment and I am able to tell you that I even have a model, that's my certificate.”
He noted however that cancer menace should be taken seriously.
“The important thing is that I am convinced that we have enough funds in this nation to build cancer centres, including research that this nation require. It is very capital intensive, some of it, but there are many ways and treatments for cancer just like there are many kinds of cancer. Even diet forms an important part. Diet is critical.”
It would be recalled that earlier this year Prof. Soyinka's wife Folake, who as it turns out already knew about her husband's health condition, spoke warmly about their family, relationships and challenges in their life.
The two have been living in a happy marriage since 1989 and have 3 children.