Is it Ignorance, Laxness, or Denial?

We celebrate Mother’s Day in May. So thought of sharing stories of two mothers – hoping that they will be an eye opener for all of us.

I am going back by about 25 years to narrate the story of a woman who one day felt a lump in one of her beasts. An ardent believer in Homeopathy and Ayurvedic medicines, she decided to see one of the top Homeopath doctors in town. As a patient, she was asthmatic and the doctor went with her previous medical history and concluded the lump was due to a bronchial condition. He did not prescribe any scans, x-rays, or other tests. The patient continued her treatment under this doctor for one whole year.

After a year, her husband insisted on taking her to an Oncologist. He examined her and immediately knew it was not a mere lump due to cold or bronchial infection…it was much more than that. Tests followed which revealed the lady had stage 3 Breast Cancer. A prime period of one year was already lost and if she was diagnosed a year earlier, the cancer could have been detected at an initial stage.

The test results came just before Diwali. She was immediately asked to go for a mastectomy. While it was a festive mood all over the town, and crackers were bursting outside her hospital window, she lay in deep pain after the surgery. Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy followed the surgery. In those days, the after-effects of Chemotherapy were very pronounced and unbearable. Her ailing body could hardly bear the side-effects – acute nausea, weakness, loss of appetite completely debilitated her.

Her fight with cancer didn’t end there. After a remission for about 3 years, the cancer came back with a vengeance. It spread to her bones and liver and after battling for a couple of years God gave her respite from all her pain and suffering.

This story was about 25 years back when there was little awareness about Cancer. But in present time, when so much is being talked about the disease, why do some women ignore the obvious symptoms?

Very recently I heard the story of a seventy-year-old lady who felt large growths in her breasts. Her nipples had turned inside and after few months the lump broke through her skin. She was still not ready to accept the reality and hoping that it is nothing more than an infection of some sort. Several months went by, when she told her children about her condition, they immediately took her for check-up and tests which revealed she was in a very advanced stage of cancer.

Since it is difficult for others to check a woman’s private parts, we need to talk to our near and dear ones frequently, and advocate the importance of self-examination, regular check-ups, and tests. We need to tell them to raise the red flag as soon as they feel unusual growth in the breasts, or if they feel pain or discomfort in any part of their bodies.

Some of our mothers can endure a lot of pain and suffering, they do not want to share their problems with others and think their health issues will soon pass over. But little do they realize that certain health conditions get aggravated when diagnosis and treatment are delayed. The suffering, pain and expenses that follow can be curtailed if they are more vigilant. Let us start with the women around us, let us talk to them and spread the message to be more alert and heedful.

Here is a blog on women’s health: http://indiancancersocietybangalore.org/we-women-need-to-be-more-vigilant-get-over-our-laxness-and-oblivion/

arpita
ARPITA BHATTACHARJEE