Dr Kalpana Gupte, a breast cancer survivor is one such person. Kalpana, Deputy Director at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) regional centre in Pune, was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer in 2001. “I went through shock when I got to know that I am suffering from cancer. Cancer is always associated with death and then I thought I might have the same fate.”
“There were still so many things that I still wanted to pursue in life. It was a horrible shock and I never had imagined my death so soon. But the help of my husband and parents helped me to go for the next step immediately.” She added.
When asked how one should handle the disease, she said, “It is important to accept it and take proactive steps. Denial stage will not help. It was a horrible thing for me when I got to know that I have cancer. It will be ultimately you who will have to cooperate. I used to maintain a diary in which i used to write how my disease is progressing and what questions should I ask my doctor.”
The cancer survivor has now started a support group for those suffering from cancer in Deenanath Hospital, Pune. “I have grown in knowledge and attitude as I have now been working for cancer support for more than a decade. We have volunteers; we conduct regular meetings of those who are suffering from cancer.”
“It is not just doctors that these patients want. Many times relatives and friends give pity. It is necessary to give positivity to these patients. From sharing small tips, to giving them information about things like lymphodima to making caregivers aware about the disease, the role of the cancer support group is crucial.” She added.
“Now many young women are getting diagnosed with breast cancer. Every month, every woman should check her breast. Every woman should start self-examining your breast. If you are aware of your body, you will get to know any change in your body.” She said.