Being a breast cancer survivor I urge that making it a taboo shouldn’t kill women anymore

    As narrated to Nadia Khan

    Breast Cancer Survivor story: ”I realised there is no turning back and I have to fight”

    It was just a normal day and I was performing routine home chores, it was then when my hand unintentionally touched the small lump inside the right breast. I was least concerned and did not pay much attention.

    A few more days and even weeks passed by. I was having this little bodily change throughout this time, I took the breast lump as normal cyst or body acne. Never in my thoughts I imagined that it will turn out be Cancer. With the passage of time the little lump grew bigger, it was now a painless mass. But since it was painless, I preferred to remain silent and was waiting for self-recovery. I thought it will disappear with time. I preferred not to talk about it because I wasn’t comfortable sharing it with anyone due to the social taboo attached to it.



    I only got alert regarding my condition when the lump started to pain severely and it developed infection, I felt sort of resonation in bulged part to the extent that I was no longer able to perform routine tasks. It was then when I showed the infection to one of my close friends and discussed with her the pain I was going through. She got really distressed the moment she observed my condition and symptoms. She suggested me to see doctor as soon as possible. Seeing her extremely anxious, I still being unaware of the cancer symptoms, asked her several times whether it was something serious?

    A life-changing diagnosis                              

    The very next morning I showed to the local clinic in our village. The doctor seemed hopeless and I was referred urgently to D.I.Khan. After a screening mammogram I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was terrifying. I thought my life has come to an end. Moreover, the attitude of doctor who dealt with me was not very encouraging, it made me feel like I have lost it all. May be he was too realistic to handle or maybe it was me who was too bitter and negative at that point of life. I was worried for my kids. I could not deal with the new reality of my life and I went into severe depression.

    I was shifted to Agha Khan Hospital, Karachi where I had to undergo life changing treatments.

    I realised there is no turning back and I have to fight.

    I went through chemotherapy and surgery procedures. The battle of tough and painful treatments was not easy. I must say that during this whole process, a good social support network i.e. one’s family, spouse and friends matters a lot. Positive and encouraging attitude to patients’ physician is something which cannot be ignored. It was my physician who gave me enough courage to accept cancer and fight like a warrior.

    Breaking the Taboo of Breast Cancer

    I realised that there is a lack of breast cancer knowledge among women, especially those living in rural and far flung areas. I was not aware of breast cancer symptoms which is why the cancer progressed too much. Now, I educate women around me on the possible symptoms of breast cancer. I tell them there is no shame in discussing breast cancer, its symptoms and consulting expert on finding indications. Talking about breast cancer is still a taboo and silence is not the option. Breast Cancer’s taboo shouldn’t kill women anymore!


    Nadia Khan
    Co-founder Women's Avenue

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