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Home News and Update Year 2011 They Fought Breast Cancer and Won

They Fought Breast Cancer and Won

Times of India
21 October 2011

On a Crusade
They Fought Breast Cancer and Won
Why me?” This was the first question that came to activist Devieka Bhojwani’s mind when doctors told her that she was suffering from breast cancer. But not only has she fought her own cancer, she has taken up the cudgels on behalf of others as well. Devieka found a lump in her breast during a routine checkup 11 years ago. Doctors assured her that it was treatable, but it only sparked another fear. “With cancers, they always say ‘treatable’ and not ‘curable’,” said the singer-actress. Devieka says she was saved because her cancer was detected early. She underwent a lumpectomy in which a small portion of her breast was removed, followed by two months of radiation.

She wrote an article about her experience. “At the time, people were shocked as there was a lot of stigma attached to cancer. They wondered how I could discuss my problem publicly,” she said. But the response from women was overwhelming. Three years after she was cured, Devieka started the Women’s Cancer Initiative that creates awareness and helps those who can’t afford treatment. This was triggered by the fear she saw in her children’s eyes during her treatment.

“I wanted to work towards ensuring that no family would have to undergo what we had experienced.” She feels that women from well-to-do families, too, are lax about their health. “Most don’t want to know even if they suspect that there may be something wrong.”

‘Men get it too?’
They Fought Breast Cancer and Won
When Jabalpur-based businessman Malinder Singh Anand was diagnosed with breast cancer, his first reaction was disbelief. At the time he weighed 105kg. “I felt a knot in my right breast. As my daughter is a dentist, she insisted I get myself checked,” said the 54-year-old. Initially, Anand did not understand the gravity of the situation. “Doctors said that some cells in the area were transforming into tumour cells and that I should undergo surgery as soon as possible. The doctor insisted that I should go to a better healthcare centre in Delhi or Mumbai as soon as possible.” Within three days of getting tested on August 13, 2010, Anand arrived in Mumbai. He was operated on at S L Raheja Hospital by Dr Sanjay Sharma.

“Before the procedure, the doctor spoke about recurrence, which could necessitate the removal of the whole breast. That was when I realized it was a major operation,” said Anand, adding that the 25 stitches on his chest confirmed the harsh reality. Anand has changed his daily routine after doctors said his sedentary lifestyle could be one of the reasons why he got the cancer. And even while indulging his tastebuds he never forgets to take his medication, which he will be on for the next five years.

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