By: Saman Siddiqui
Begum Kalsoom Nawaz diagnosed with cancer, was sad news indeed. It’s most important that such diseases are diagnosed at its earliest and treatment starts on time. I wish her all the best for restoring perfect health soon. She belongs to such a privileged class who can get advanced medical treatment abroad. I am writing being neutral without supporting any political party, had it not been the best if the government had invested in improving health and care facilities in the country. Why is it so that for most of the politicians medical facilities not available in Pakistan? The leaders and their family have to go abroad for seeking medical aid. But prior to this development I had in mind to write up a blog post regarding cancer specially in Pakistani women.
Earlier this month I received sad news from a friend of mine that she has been diagnosed with cancer, in fact she broke this sad news by herself to me. I promised I won’t disclose her name and won’t tell about her illness to anyone. This news came as a shock to me I couldn’t ask her any details, how did this happened. How did she come to know about this? What were her symptoms? I could not even ask her what kind of cancer she was suffering from as cat got my tongue. I was talking to her one day a random chat we usually have in a week or so. I inquired her has she been reading my blogs, I demanded her feedback. She, ‘ Saman I am not well, I have been really sick. Once I start feeling better I will read’. I frowned a bit without realizing what going on the other side. Next day I send her a message asking her if she was feeling any better. I got reply after few days, oh I wish I could rewrite all those words, but I promised her I won’t tell anyone. She is going through chemotherapy. Every week the procedure is repeated. I couldn’t dare to ask how long will it last, what are doctors saying. At what stage it was diagnosed.
Cancer can affect any one, regardless of age, social class and gender. The illness itself is a huge burden for the family, both financially and emotionally. In simple words it can be defined as a class of disease which is characterized by the out of control cell growth. It can affect any part of the body including blood. The growth often invades surrounding tissues and can metastasize to distant sites. In Pakistan approximately 100,000 people die every year and have the highest rate of breast cancer in Asia. And in males the deaths occur particularly from lung cancer. 90,000 breast cancer cases are being reported annually in the country. More or less 40,000 deaths occur due to breast cancer. Awareness is very important to stop and prevent the disease, as well as early detection.
It is alarming that that the cancer rate in Pakistan in women is very high. We all know that this disease is fatal, but most importantly what we can do is encourage the patient. If the will power is strong a person can fight the disease in a better way.
All what we can do is spoke words of kindness, supporting them out of all odds. They should not be left alone. This is the time where friends after family can work as a booster for them. It is such a taboo in our society if we find out that a person is sick with such terminal disease we try to avoid contact and marginalize such people. With fear of isolation people hide their situation.
Finding out that someone you know has cancer can be very difficult, though the treatment is provided by doctor but what one best can offer to help the patient is the support, support in every possible way.
There can be possible physical changes keeping in mind that each cancer journey is different with possible emotional changes and response to treatment could be different. Mood of the patient can change from day to day with evident signs of anxiety, fear and depression. Coping with disease in everyday life is never easy, as cancer is very unpredictable disease.
Talking to the person who is suffering from cancer is the best thing one can offer, and listening to what he or she wants to share. And constant words of encouragement work stronger than any medicine. Try to respond from your heart to a cancer patient. Believe me it works, as talking to my friend all I could offer was that I will be always available to talk any time she wants. Her words echo I my ears, thank you my friend for being with me.
Story first published: 28th August 2017