A cure after 10 years


Cat was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago. At that time, her son was only one- year old and the tragic news plunged her whole family into the depths of misery. Now, 10 years have passed and medically, Cat has recovered from the disease. However, she has been determined and unrelenting in conducting regular breast self-examinations and she also keeps reminding her friends and colleagues to pay attention to their own health and attend mammogram checks periodically.


In March 1998, Cat felt pain in her breast when she was about to go for her annual gynaecological examination. However, the gynaecologist did not feel any abnormality on palpation. Cat was persistent and requested a mammogram. Finally she was referred to a surgeon for further examination where she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Her doctor explained that her tumour was located deep inside her breast, so it was difficult to detect on palpation.


Cat felt completely discouraged and hopeless about her life after the startling news, recalling the questions that ran through her mind, “My son is only one year old, what should I do? I will not be able to see my son grow up… Why me? Is this a punishment from God?”


But her entire family gave her their wholehearted support. She was especially appreciative of her doctor-in-charge, “Not only did she treat my disease but she also healed my heart. Her encouragement boosted my confidence in fighting the disease.”


Looking back on her psychological path over the past 10 years, Cat said breast cancer has changed her philosophy of life completely. She has learnt to treasure what she has, “I was such a perfectionist and stubborn person and would not take 'no' for an answer, until I was sick. I started to realise that many things in life were not under my own control. Life can be so fragile, I had to live in the moment and cherish my family.'


Breast cancer is increasingly affecting younger women. “I have heard that more young women around me have got breast cancer. Therefore I always remind my colleagues at work to do mammography screening regularly upon reaching age 40, because some tumours can only be detected by mammography. I do not mind sharing my story as a breast cancer survivor because I hope that by doing so I can alert women on the importance of early detection,” says Cat.