According to the American National Cancer Institute; the number of new cancer cases is 439.2 per 100,000 men and women every year and the number of cancer related deaths is 163.5 per 100,000 men and women per year.
With statistics like that, it’s not easy to keep your spirits high when you have cancer. We spoke to Hinal Yadav to figure out how she does it.
The Mother and Cancer Patient
Hinal is a mother of one. She has a postgraduate degree in Psychology, loves her kids and has an artistic bent. On one uneventful, hot, and humid May evening, she discovered a lump in her breast. The very next day, she and her husband went to see the GP, who then referred them to a breast specialist.
Hinal says,“The doctor conducted a few routine tests, after which, I was informed that there is a tumor in my breast and it could be malignant (i.e. cancerous).”
Cancer or Not ?
Initially, my husband and I were both in a state of denial and decided to wait for the biopsy report before we could react. Just the possibility that I could have cancer was more than terrifying in the beginning, since it could have gone either way.”
She goes on to say, “While we waited for the results, our doctor mentally prepared us for the worst case scenario. Thanks to this, when the malignancy was confirmed, my husband and I had a very neutral reaction to it.”
A few decades ago, approximately 65-70% of all women suffering from breast cancer were above the age of 50. However, presently, roughly 48% of all women suffering from breast cancer belong to a younger age group. Hinal is 29, and is not letting cancer define her.
Does Cancer Mean A Change in Life?
For a lot of cancer patients, their lives change after their condition is detected, whether it is as minor as a change in routine, or as radical as a 360 degree flip in their outlook towards life.
So we asked Hinal if her life was any different post-diagnosis, to which she said, “Though it has slightly affected my day-to-day life, my husband and I consciously make an effort to not let it affect our lives in a major way. Instead, we took it as a challenge that we were both mentally prepared to face. Also, I genuinely think that cancer is just a big word that we are scared of; if your doctors have told you that you can get cured, and then you should trust them. It’s honestly all in the mind. If you’re determined to beat it and catch it early, which is what happened in my case, then there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Family and their Reactions to Cancer
We inquired about how her family reacted to the diagnosis, to which she said, “My family responded with sheer optimism. They know that I’m a fighter, and were confident that I would beat the cancer.” She feels blessed to have a strong support system, one that’s come to be her best tool in her fight against cancer. She goes on to say that without the love and support of her husband, children as well as extended family she may not have had enough courage to fight against cancer and fight to keep the normalcy in life in-spite of the difficulties she may face.
Hinal Fights Cancer with Technology
Hinal believes that modern technology and her perseverance are what have kept her going and constantly give her the strength to keep fighting cancer. She’s never been afraid of her cancer, and believes in keeping a positive approach towards everything in life.
She says, “I’ve gone through twelve rounds of chemotherapy, and when my doctor checked recently to see how my body had responded to the chemo, to our surprise, we couldn’t see the tumor on the scans anymore.”
This phenomenon is called? Clinical Complete Response’, which means that her body completely and positively responded to the chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy and Its Effects
Chemotherapy is any therapeutic dispensation of chemicals to a patient in order to rid the patient of the disease they are afflicted with.
Chemotherapy in itself is a painful procedure because one has to sit in one place with an IV tapped into their arm or hand which is continuously pumping in chemicals into their body in hopes of killing the tumor, then there’s numerous pills to be taken at specific hours of the day to ensure the body’s chemical balance remains as well as radiation therapy which sends powerful surges of energy to the tumor in an effort to kill the tumor cells and/or slow their growth so as to make surgery possible.
Both radiation therapy and chemotherapy have adverse side effects. While they may help kill or stop or even slow down the growth of the cancer cells, both of these therapies also end up harming the healthy tissues and cells of our bodies.
How Hinal dealt with the treatment
She would regularly introspect and talk to herself to remember that all of this is temporary, and that there’s a lot more to her as an individual than her hair.
She said, “Initially, it was quite challenging. However, over time, I accepted my new look.”
She further goes on to say that she believes cancer can bring a positive change to people’s lives too. After her diagnosis, she began to value life, people, and relationships even more. She lives every day to the fullest, and has now begun eating cleaner and working out meaner too.
How to Heal while Fighting Cancer
As we have come to learn, cancer brings a lot of changes to one’s life, knowing that there’s a possibility of your life ending, helps one reanalyze their lives and make the required changes to live a better life.
*The subject’s name has been changed to protect her identity