A patient at Steve Biko hospital in Pretoria Moot, Cornelia du Preez, discovered this week that what she thought was a “cold sore” on her lip is in fact a type of lip cancer.
This after the results of samples taken last week confirmed on Wednesday that she has a squamous cell carcinoma caused by an uncontrolled growth of abnormal squamous cells.
Her lower lip has burst open and swollen to an abnormally large size with pus coming out of it.
“I’m in a lot of pain,” she told Pretoria Moot Rekord.
“After doctors told us last month that they couldn’t help us because we didn’t have a medical aid, I decided enough is enough,” her husband Georg said.
The Du Preez couple, originally from Patensie, has been married for 37 years.
Georg said his wife got a fever blister on her lip about a year and a half ago.
“The doctor initially said she should just put on Labello,” Georg said.
Eight months ago, Cornelia’s lip started swelling up where the fever blister started.
“We also tried to treat it ourselves.”
Still, the lip kept swelling.
Georg said he became extremely concerned about his wife’s lip in March.
One after the other, doctors referred or turned the couple away because they do not belong to a medical aid.
On December 4, the couple arrived in Gauteng and initially wanted to stay with family, but due to circumstances, they booked into a guest house in Queenswood.
The guest house owner, Linda Lourens, saw Cornelia’s mouth and was touched by the Du Preez story, and decided to share the story on a Facebook group.
On Friday, Cornelia went to Steve Biko where samples were taken from her lip to be tested.
“It’s cancer in the jaw,” Georg said.
Her condition has been so aggravated in the past few months that she lost 20 kilograms in three months because she cannot eat solid food.
Georg makes her fruit and yogurt smoothies or soups because she cannot eat anything else.
They even tried to treat her lip and the pain with marijuana oil.
“I’m not scared, I’m more relieved that I’m finally going to get treatment,” said Cornelia.