Over the last decade or so there has been a sea change in how we look at cancer. There was a time when women would almost feel ashamed to admit that they had breast cancer. Thankfully the scenario has changed nowadays. Cancer is no longer a dreaded six-letter-word that has to be said in hushed tones and muffled voices. There are even support groups; not just for the person battling it but also for their family members.
Speaking out about it is critical in this move forward. And writer and director Tahira Kashyap, who is actor Ayushmann Khurrana’s wife, is adding her voice to this important conversation.
Tahira has been diagnosed with Stage 0 cancer. In a brave move, she decided to speak about it, through a post on her Instagram handle.
She says in the post, “I was detected with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) in my right breast with high-grade malignant cells. Simply put stage 0 cancer/pre-cancerous stage, with cancer cells multiplying in a contained area.”
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An opportunity to give competition to the Kardashians just went wasted! A week back I mentioned about ‘my badge of honour’ that I was going to receive. And I did and am happy to share about it with the intention of it being received with love. As that’s the only reason I am posting it. Love for self and gratitude for the universe. The picture might be disturbing for some, but these drains have become my dumbells for a few days. I was detected with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) in my right breast with high grade malignant cells. Simply put stage 0 cancer/ pre-cancerous stage, with cancer cells multiplying in a contained area. The result I have become a half Indian version of Angelina Jolie (since only one breast was involved)! I told my doctor now is the time to give some competition to the Kardashians since Pamela is passé. But no one listened to me, so now I have a portion of my back tissue in my breast. Perhaps now I can do chin-ups with my breasts! Jokes apart, this obstacle has given me a new definition of life. Respect it’s unpredictability and have the faith and courage to be the hero of your own drama of life. The invincible human spirit is God like, gives you the courage to endure and the will to revive. There is nothing that human spirit can’t do. Also I want women of all ages to be aware. I am 35, and I was returned twice over from a mammogram. If any symptoms come up, think of it as a protective force and get yourselves examined. Also we are so obsessed with boobs. This mastectomy has left me with even more self love! Big, small, left or right inclined , gravity pulling or defying, or even none, each breast the presence or lack of it has a story to tell. Mine has made me a 2.0 version of myself! This post is dedicated to awareness, self love and resilience of a warrior that I know each one of us possesses❤️ #breastcancerawareness #selflove #determination #faith #bodhisattva #bodhisattvaoftheearth
Not long ago, actor Sonali Bendre also spoke about her battle with cancer; she has also been updating her social media pages with details of her treatment since.
This sharing by celebrities not only creates awareness about the condition among their followers, but also encourages more women to take charge of their health, get periodic check-ups, seek support when needed, and most importantly, reiterates that cancer is not a bad word that needs to be kept under wraps.
According to a report published by Deccan Chronicle, the lack of early diagnosis is leading India towards a breast cancer epidemic; according to scientists, educating men may be the key to encouraging women to seek early help.
Breast cancer awareness month is a yearly campaign that is intended to educate people, especially women, about the importance of early screening testing, and other details. This campaign runs through October every year.
Here’s what you ought to know:
1. Know your breasts
Ensure that you conduct a self-examination every month after your menstrual cycle. You can do this during the time you take a shower. Stand before a mirror and feel your breasts. Doing this month-on-month will help you understand the difference – if any. Discuss the right technique for the self-examination with your doctor. Encourage the women in your family and your friends to also do this on a regular basis.
2. Here’s what you should be checking for during the self-examination
-A new lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
-Thickening or swelling of any part of the breast.
-Any irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
-Any redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
-Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
-Any nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
-Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
-Pain in any area of the breast.
3. Understanding the risk factors
If your mother, sibling, or a first-degree relative of your mother has been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, you must be doubly vigilant. The early onset of menarche or late menopause are also factors you must consider. A late pregnancy post-30s, heavy consumption of alcohol, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle are also risk factors.
4. Finding the right doctor
It is imperative that you feel comfortable discussing any health concern that you may have with your doctor. While it helps to have a compassionate doctor, ensure that your doctor can explain and give you the time you may need to deal with the changes, both within your body and in your mind. Do not shy away from discussing various treatment options. Always go to your doctor with questions written down so that you do not forget any.
Early detection is the key to success in your fight against cancer. So if you witness any of the above symptoms, get yourself diagnosed at the earliest.
Tahira ends her post with the following words, “This post is dedicated to awareness, self-love and resilience of a warrior that I know each one of us possesses.” In the same vein, here’s hoping that each one of you follows these rules of self-examination and is more aware of your bodies.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)