Celebrating Life – Cancer Survivors Day

I stand humbled and inspired!

Every day as an oncologist, I get inspired by my patients and their families.

Today world is observing cancer survivor’s day. This day is observed to generate awareness about cancer treatment and optimism for people fighting this disease.

Few days back, I saw a patient in her late fifties who had undergone treatment for two different cancers. She had cancer of large intestine in her 40s and then cancer of uterus in her 50s. She shared with me that fighting cancer was a life transforming experience for her. She completely switched over to healthy diet and yoga. She has been running in Delhi half marathon every year for last more than 10 years. She is also an avid trekker and participates in all adventure sports.

I was filled with guilt as she was sharing all this as I don’t take as good care of my own health as she does.

I met another lady who also incidentally had defeated two cancers. She told me about her participation in the beauty pageant, car rally and that she is life coach as well.

I am a feminist, so please excuse me for sharing another story of a young woman. A beautiful young lady with breast cancer came to me for opinion regarding radiation therapy. This young bright lady was working in a MNC and shared with me that her cancer was diagnosed immediately after birth of her second child. She also mentioned that soon after her diagnosis, her younger sister got herself tested and was also diagnosed with breast cancer. I was little stunned after listening to her confident calm conversation. I enquired that life must have been really difficult with two sisters together going through cancer treatment. She laughed and said – “no things actually became easier. I am ahead of her in all treatments, so I keep guiding her from my personal experience. When I have my chemotherapy, she manages my kids and I take care of her family during her chemotherapy”. My mouth was shut after this positive narration.

At the same time, some patients come to us after completing their cancer treatment, complaining that their employers are not willing to get them back in their job. This is so inhuman.

Times have really changed. Cancer patients do not need sympathy from society.

Cancer has become a treatable and curable disease. Cancer patients demand right treatment, compassion, empathy and positive attitude of society and treatment.

Let us together celebrate life.

Prevent cancers by adopting a tobacco and alcohol free healthy life style.

Let us get our girls vaccinated to prevent cervical cancer.

Get our regular cancer screening done for early detection of cancer.

Let us all support anyone fighting cancer with positive and empathetic attitude.