Moleleki speaks on his can­cer bat­tle

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Her­bert Moyo

ASOMBRE at­mos­phere briefly en­gulfed the state house this week when the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Monyane Moleleki re­counted his suc­cess­ful bat­tle to over­come an ag­gres­sive form of ton­sil can­cer.

Mr Moleleki briefly re­counted his health strug­gles while ad­dress­ing a din­ner hosted by the Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane and the First Lady ‘Mae­sa­iah Tha­bane for guests who are at­tend­ing the 12th Stop Cer­vi­cal, Breast and Prostate Can­cers in Africa Con­fer­ence (SCCA).

The con­fer­ence which was held un­der the theme, ‘Mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in women, men and chil­dren’s lives’, be­gan on Sun­day and ended yes­ter­day.

Speak­ing at the din­ner that was held at the state house, Mr Moleleki called on the del­e­gates to work with Le­sotho in the fight against dif­fer­ent can­cers which have be­come ma­jor killers of women, men and chil­dren.

“The peo­ple of Le­sotho are wait­ing for you and we are ready to ac­cept the con­tri­bu­tions of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to fight, com­bat and stop breast can­cer, cer­vi­cal can­cer, prostate can­cer and any other can­cer.

“Mine (can­cer) which I sur­vived, thank good­ness, was ton­sil­lar can­cer. It is a very chal­leng­ing can­cer and it (the can­cer) was right here,” Mr Moleleki said while point­ing at his throat.

Ac­cord­ing to the United States’ Na­tional Can­cer In­sti­tute’s Sur­veil­lance, Epi­demi­ol­ogy and End Re­sults data­base, about 3, 5 per­cent of all oral can­cers de­velop in the ton­sils or the orophar­ynx—the back part of the throat.

The Cedars Si­nai Med­i­cal Cen­ter’s web­site states that men are four times more likely to con­tract ton­sil can­cer than women.

“Peo­ple are gen­er­ally di­ag­nosed at age 50 or older but it (ton­sil can­cer) can de­velop at any age. The most sig­nif­i­cant risk fac­tors for ton­sil can­cers are to­bacco and al­co­hol use, in­clud­ing smoke­less to­bacco (snuff and be­tel nut).

“Other po­ten­tial causes in­clude peo­ple with cer­tain in­fec­tions or de­creased im­mu­nity, such as the Hu­man pa­pil­loma virus (HPV) and the hu- man im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency virus (HIV),” the web­site fur­ther states.

Some of the symp­toms of ton­sil can­cer are a sore in the back of the mouth that will not heal, blood in the saliva, mouth pain, a per­sis­tent sore throat, pain when swal­low­ing and a lump or pain in the neck.

Mr Moleleki’s rev­e­la­tions come against the back­ground of in­tense speculation about his state of health.

Only a fort­night ago, the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter was forced to speak out against ru­mours that his health was fail­ing.

Some sources had told the Le­sotho Times that the Al­liance of Democrats leader had been ad­vised by his doc­tors to scale down on his work com­mit­ments to avoid ag­gra­vat­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

“Ntate Moleleki is sick and his doc­tors have ad­vised him to slow down,” said one source who spoke on con­di­tions of anonymity.

“He (Mr Moleleki) is tak­ing the doc­tors’ ad­vice. He is cau­tious of what he does th­ese days and he is keen to en­sure that he does not over­work him­self,” the source said.

Another source said the 67-year-old deputy premier has scaled down on his po­lit­i­cal as­sign­ments as he was suf­fer­ing from the same “de­bil­ity dis­ease” that af­flicted him in 2014 and forced the courts to post­pone his cor­rup­tion trial that same year.

“He (Mr Moleleki) is suf­fer­ing from the same de­bil­ity dis­ease that af­fected him in 2014. He trusts his doc­tors’ ad­vice and he is tak­ing things slowly as in­structed,” the source said.

How­ever, in an in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times a fort­night ago, Mr Moleleki said he was aware of the “base­less ru­mours” about his ill-health. He said the ru­mours were spread by peo­ple who do not be­lieve that his de­ci­sion not to seek re-elec­tion in fu­ture par­lia­men­tary elec­tions was mo­ti­vated by the de­sire to give oth­ers a chance.

Mr Moleleki an­nounced last Oc­to­ber that he would not seek re-elec­tion af­ter hav­ing been re­elected leg­is­la­tor for the Machache con­stituency six times in a row in­clud­ing in the last elec­tions that were held on 3 June 2017. He how­ever, said he would go to par­lia­ment as a pro­por­tional rep- re­sen­ta­tion (PR) leg­is­la­tor.

Mr Moleleki’s can­cer ill­ness was first re­ported in 2014 dur­ing his cor­rup­tion trial for al­legedly abus­ing his of­fice as the then Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter. He was ac­cused of fa­cil­i­tat­ing the is­suance of di­a­mond prospect­ing li­cences to a Mafeteng firm, Re­fela Hold­ings. The case was dis­missed last year be­cause of a missing docket.

Mr Moleleki sub­se­quently granted an in­ter­view to the sis­ter pub­li­ca­tion in Oc­to­ber 2014 where he said that he was “vir­tu­ally dead” be­fore he “un­der­went pro­ce­dures for can­cer-treat­ment and all have dev­as­tat­ing side-ef­fects”.

“I have suf­fered all the dev­as­tat­ing chemo­ther­apy side-ef­fects: nau­sea, hair com­ing off, fa­tigue you have never ex­pe­ri­enced in your life and lack of ap­petite.

“I have un­der­gone three long months of ra­dio­ther­apy. It is nu­clear laser power. When they in­tro­duce it on one side of your neck, it comes out the other side. And the peo­ple who treat you run out of the treat­ment room as soon as they tie you to the ta­ble. They run for dear life and stand be­hind thick walls made of steel and they leave you there for the can­cer cells to burn.

“Look at how thin I am now. And if I could take off my shirt, you would be in tears. Yet I’m a much bet­ter than I was three months ago,” Mr Moleleki said at the time.

DEPUTY Prime Min­is­ter Monyane Moleleki.

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