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Cancer is often viewed as the end of the road in many ways, especially for the young afflicted with cancer. While the diagnosis of cancer, in itself, can be devastating for them, the consequences of treatment can actually push them further into a corner. One such situation arising out of treatment is infertility, a topic which was rarely broached with the young and old alike, till the recent past. With due care and sensitivity to these needs of the patients, it is possible to reverse a lot of wrong that treatment can bring in its wake! That brings me to the story of this young Champion I wish to share with you.The main protagonist of this story is a young Doctor diagnosed with breast cancer aged 26 years about 6 years ago. She was devastated! She was engaged to her sweetheart- a young Doctor training to be a surgeon. She was looking forward to a beautiful life when she was struck by breast cancer. This was more than what any girl her age could take. But she was different!She had spunk and was not willing to let go, of the life she had dreamt of. She soon collected herself to ask the right questions of her doctors. She wanted to preserve her fertility and after consulting an infertility specialist, had her ova preserved. She underwent treatment, thereafter and had breast conservation surgery followed by chemotherapy, radiation and 5 years of hormonal treatment, supported by her fiancé who stood by her like a rock.She was married to him soon after treatment. She is on follow up and all is well. The story doesn’t end here. She called me last week to share a piece of good news. She had given birth to a healthy baby boy two months ago. I was besides myself with joy and both of us laughed merrily over the phone. She came over two days ago with her bundle of joy cradled in her arms, her eyes overflowing with the selfless love of a mother. I could imagine what it meant to her. And this had happened naturally!! However bad the situation, life does turn up trumps on many occasions. These Champs give a new meaning to hope and I am wiser for it. If I am optimistic, you know where it comes from!! #health #breast cancer # breast conservation surgery #infertility #Max Hospital #Patparganj
Breast cancer can catch anyone by surprise. Why I say that is because the usual history is a lump felt in the breast over a few weeks to a month or two or more. Apparently innocent as it caused no pain or upset the rhythm of life. It was just there! I identify with this extremely unpleasant feeling of being caught out or cornered or ganged up against, when this innocuous lump is declared cancer, almost everyday. How could a lump which was just there till yesterday change life indelibly? The grief that accompanies the diagnosis is unfathomable in most. The denial that follows and the unfairness of the situation is quite hard hitting. I, as a Clinician, after so many years of being witness to this familiar response, still find it hard to say something sensible to console, especially if the affected is young. It is almost as if I am on their side, a part of their family, going through this heart- wrenching sequence. When I am at a loss, the best I do, is hold their hands and say everything will be alright. I want it that way and no other way, as every doctor would. And it works! I liken the situation to being in quicksand. If you struggle too much with the situation, you get pulled in, the brain gets clouded and wrong decisions are made. If you reach out to a helping hand, gently ease yourself out with coaxing and cajoling coming from your loved ones, you make it! How one handles the situation has a large part to play in what the final outcome would be. We do not choose situations in life and some situations do catch you unawares. What you can choose, is your response to the situation- accepting it, making light of it, taking it in your stride and going through treatment with the desire to heal and bounce back, is usually what winners do!!
Ladies in pink, celebrating life... A heady mix of survivors, doctors, volunteers, partners, friends ..... Can anyone tell the difference? That is where life wins and everything else, even breast cancer, becomes insignificant! For further details... Please contact Dr Geeta Kadayaprath, Head, Breast Surgical Oncology, Max Cancer Centre, Patparganj, Delhi
Does cancer give you a new lease of life? Today, a patient, Mrs Sharma (name changed), I had treated 2 years back, came for follow up to my clinic with her very beautiful and supportive daughter.When I saw her two years ago, I was taken aback by the fact that an educated lady like her had ignored a lump in the breast completely to let it grow to the size she came to me with. Big it was....ulcerated, infected and bleeding. She had large lymph nodes in her armpit.She was weak and it made me wonder if it was the anemia due to chronic blood loss from the breast cancer or spread of disease to other organs which was contributing to this. I was almost certain she would have spread to other organs. Fortunately for her, her PET CT did not show spread to the other organs.The lady was amazing....she knew she was in big trouble, but she was most cheerful and accepting. She was dealing with a lot in life already....a husband confined to bed for two years prior to her diagnosis and a son who had lost his bearings.I knew then her reason for self neglect. She went through the entire treatment, cheerfully and recovered. She went back to looking after her ill husband till he passed away a few months back. Today she surprised me. She looked well.....and I thought a bit relieved.I examined her, went through her reports ....she was absolutely fine. She was her happy self. She dug out a packet from her bag and gave it to me.She said she had made that bag and told me how she had started this NGO to support women in Haryana. They made the bags according to her specifications.... Beautiful bag! She was putting her talent to good use and just talking about it lit up her face.Mrs Sharma had rediscovered herself and will soon embark on fulfilling yet another dream -to paint and hold an exhibition.And then she is off to Canada to meet her friend of 50 years.Wow!!I can only salute her resilience! I want her to know, she really made me proud!! For more details, please contact Dr Geeta Kadayaprath, Head Breast Surgical Oncology, Max Cancer Centre, Patparganj, Delhi, India
...SURGERY FOR BREAST CANCER IS NOT ABOUT REMOVING BREASTS, ALWAYS…(contd.) The treatment of breast cancer has undergone major improvements and this has been reflected in how the outcomes have changed dramatically for the better. While curing the disease is a priority, maintaining quality of life is as important. The journey that has been covered before us is no less fascinating and the constant endeavor to make it better for the patient has driven the change. Mutilating surgeries in the form of amputation of the breast and then radical mastectomy (removal of the breast, muscles of the chest and the lymph nodes in the armpit ) or the extended radical mastectomy( same as radical mastectomy but with the additional removal of lymph nodes inside the chest) remained in vogue for a larger part of the 20th century. ...to be continued.....More history in the next update
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