Breast Cancer is second largest cancer in amongst all women around the world.

‘Life is better after breast cancer’

Neeti Leekha Chhabra was 31 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has been married for 6 years and has a son who'll turn four this August. An MBA by education and an Assistant Professor to post graduate students by profession, Neeti's discovery of a lump on the surface of her breast was a chance encounter. After a round of clinical examination and basic ultrasound, the report read begin. Yet, since it was a pea-sized lump, she was advised FNAC*. On June 11, 2012 she was called to collect the report with her husband and since that day, life has not been the same for her.
Shruti Sharma Anand was also 31 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. A product manager with a leading private sector bank in New Delhi, she and her husband were planning to have a child. Shruti's first pregnancy turned out to be ectopic, a rare complication of pregnancy, and had to be terminated. She then decided to go for an IVF but that attempt too proved unsuccessful. That's when she noticed a lump in her breast and an ultrasound confirmed stage II of the cancer.

Neeti and Shruti are just two of the many 'young' breast cancer survivors in India between the 25 to 40 age group, who've not only braved the disease but have also come out of it feeling positive. It is not easy. At an age when all your focus is on the future - a better job, children and holidays, an unexpected face-off with death is an unnecessary, not to mention, life-threatening impediment. "The news was a complete shock for us and all our future planning went down the drains. Our immediate concern was my survival," recalls Shruti.

Breast cancer takes away from a young woman more than just a breast. It takes away, temporarily, her right to 'live life' fully, without any compromises and conditions. And fighting cancer is not a one-day task. After the mastectomy (surgical removal of breasts), one must undergo several grilling sessions of Adjuvant Chemotherapy (AC) for as long as 6 to 10 months, sometimes followed by hormonal treatment that continues for years. There are times when the physical pain overlaps with the emotional stress, which leads to further crises such as sexuality, relationship with partner, having children and a career at stake. And then, there is the constant reminder of living with only one breast. Of course, there is the option of breast reconstruction but in India, only five in a hundred cases actually go for it. Some give it a miss considering the exorbitant costs and complications involved, while some choose their physical limitation over the possibility of recurrence of the cancer. Shruti, who is soon planning to get a full implant, points out the flaws in the way insurance companies work in India, "No insurance plan in our country covers the cost of breast reconstruction because it falls under the plastic surgery category. They don't realise that this is not a process of beautification like a breast augmentation or reduction; this is restoration of a woman's body part and is as important as any other amputated part."

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Breast Cancer Blog

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  • Content By:

    Youth Ki aawaz
  • Posted on:

    Oct 25, 2016

It’s Shocking How Many Women In India Are At The Risk Of Having Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each year, approximately 1.5 lakh cases of the disease are diagnosed in India. Breast Cancer has now overtaken cervical cancer as the most common cancer affecting women in India. Recent studies show one in 30 women in Urban India will develop the disease. Breast Cancer itself is a curable and highly treatable disease when detected early.

However, in India, 50% of the cases are diagnosed at advanced stages of the disease. The reason we (Tarun Cotra, Deepak Thomas and Anthony Karbhari) decided to make this film, is to highlight these alarming statistics. By juxtaposing the probability of other events actually occurring in one’s life with the probability of developing breast cancer, we aim to jolt women into action.
Early detection is the key to survival and we would like the women in the country to know that although the statistics are unfavourable, we can definitely fight the odds by taking action.

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  • Nidhi Sharma have successfully defeated breast cancer

  • Content by:

    Mail Online India
  • Posted on:

    Oct 25, 2016

Breast cancer survivors believe life becomes more beautiful and meaningful after the battle

It is easier to succumb to self pity and blame your stars when faced with a crisis. More so, if the crisis is breast cancer as most people silently accept it as the 'end of life'. However, there are a few women who beat this deadly disease with infinite patience and positivity, because they know that life also favours those who do not give up. Harpreet Malik and Nidhi Sharma have successfully defeated breast cancer.
They share their experiences and speak of how it has changed them and their perspective for a better life. There is a lot one can learn from their mistakes and experiences.
Feel your body
'I am ashamed to say that the lump was the size of a golf ball, when I first felt it. I missed the signs,' admits Harpreet Malik, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001.
Malik is a healthy vegetarian, a teetotaler and doesn't smoke cigarettes. She always prioritised exercise with daily workouts, horse riding once a week, and maintained a very active routine. Stressing on the importance of a monthly self-examination, Dr. Vaneeta Kapur, senior consultant radiologist, Fortis La Femme adds, 'A self-breast examination makes a woman familiar with the normal knots of her breasts. As a result if there is a lump which is more than 1.5 cms to 2 cms in size, she would be able to pick it up.
Most women underestimate its advantages. It can save your life.' With no family history of the disease and an active lifestyle Harpreet mistakenly considered herself immune to breast cancer.
'When it came to cancer, I always saw myself in the 'no risk group.' Unfortunately it took me a radical mastectomy, six cycles of chemotherapy and 24 sessions of radiation, to realise my mistake' she sighs.
Since one looks and more importantly feels fine, it is easy to live under the delusion that cancer will never happen to us.

Be breast aware
Everyone knows that life is unpredictable. However, what we forget is that we must be prepared for any unexpected turns.
When it comes to breast cancer, knowledge and awareness play a crucial role. Two years ago, Nidhi Sharma walked out of a breast awareness lecture, held at her son's school, thinking that she was too young to get it.
A few months later, while bathing, a painless lump caught her attention and changed the course of her life. 'I was only 29 years old, so I was sure that I could never get it,' she remembers. Sharma was diagnosed with her positive cancer, the rarest form of cancer, where the cancer cells are highly aggressive.
Despite her chances of survival being bleak she decided not to give up without a fight. 'It's devastating to see your hair fall off in clusters after chemotherapy.
It made me so weak that even turning from one side to the other became a struggle. But I knew I had to fight and survive for my son. And, I did it,' she states.
Experts believe that an early detection not only increases the chances of the survival, but also ensures a lesser number of treatments and less expenses.
'Breast Cancer if detected early is completely curable. In fact in lesions which are less than 1 cms in size, the patient usually requires only a lumpectomy and sometimes radiotherapy. Often, chemotherapy is not needed,' explains Dr Kapur.

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