World renowned playwright and poet, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has survived cancer.
The 80-year-old Nobel Laureate made this known at a press conference at the Cultural Centre, Abeokuta, Kuto, Ogun State on Tuesday. He said he discovered the lump around end of 2013 and had been in treatment until October this year when he was declared cancer-free.
Soyinka has since added his voice to advocacy for a cancer centre that will not only treat, but also serve as a place for research into early detection of the disease in the country.
He explained that the briefing was to “demystify cancer”, which he said was “not a death sentence”.
“I have undergone treatment and have a medal to show for it. I completed treatment in October,” he said.
He went on to say that in 2011 a certain amount had been budgeted and approved for a cancer centre to be built in the country but that never materialised.
“We have enough money in the country to build cancer centres for treatment and even research. I want to make a passionate appeal for this money to be released… We should have diagnostic centres,” said Soyinka who explained that the hardest part of the treatment for him was drinking plenty of water.
Also at the gathering were Professor Femi Williams of the Africa Cancer Centre and Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, Commissioner for Health, Ogun State.
Williams made a presentation after Professor Soyinka’s revelation on why Nigeria urgently needs a cancer centre.
He said the cancer centre project has been on for 10 years due to constraints in funds although it got a substantial amount of money in the 2011 budget. He explained that this has led to the scaling down of the massive project to a one storey building on the 12 and half acre waterfront land in Lagos.
It was Williams who explained that the kind of cancer Soyinka was diagnosed of was that of the prostate.