Aruna Patel has a unique connection to October 2 because it was on this day in 2015 that she received her breast cancer diagnosis. “As a nurse, I interact with patients every day. But even then, the news had an impact on my entire family, not just me, “Patel, who is currently employed by Sterling Hospital’s cancer centre, says.
Nearly 10 years after her rehabilitation and return to work, she is eager to share her experiences with the centre’s new patients.
“Two of the major fears for the patients include loss of breast and loss of hair. Often, chemotherapy also frightens women. I try to take them through my journey and assure them that new technology and proper treatment can provide a shot at a normal life,” she said.
Oncologists in the city noted that the finest counsellors are frequently those who have been patients or have recently completed treatment. February 4 is recognised as World Cancer Day with the theme “bridge the care gap.”
Dr Kaustubh Patel, the head & neck oncologist with HCG Cancer Hospital, said that the support group members often visit the OPDs. “In some cases, we also share their numbers with the relatives of the patients to understand the life of a cancer patient. It has a huge psychological impact,” he said.
The cancer patients are often referred to Dr Parul Shah, a city-based gynaecologist who is a cancer survivor. “It was a self-diagnosis of sorts when I realized that I had breast cancer. It’s nearly two decades now and the stigma is much less now with better diagnostics and treatment. But the key word remains early detection and treatment,” said Dr Shah, who has counselled over 200 women.