Why are people with Breast Cancer stigmatized?

Hi, I am a breast cancer survivor and I am not shameful or shy about sharing that. I got diagnosed at the age of 28 and it was a hard path to tread on. But, what is even harder is when you are forced not to disclose the fact that you have breast cancer, or that you had breast cancer; because many people think that knowing you had breast cancer, it will leave a mark on you and your family forever. What's even worse is that you already have so many other things that you are worried about as a patient in treatment, and what people make it look like does not help your situation. I have a genetic mutation and I am very open about it. None of my family members have ever had cancer (leave alone Breast Cancer); but I have a genetic mutation that makes me susceptible to future recurrence (not now, since I had a mastectomy - removing of breasts and breast tissue- to take care of that) and I have about 49% chance of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Well, there it is. I have no shame in sharing that and I don't care what people will think of me or how they will treat my daughter when she grows up.

Our society and culture pays a lot of attention on what people may say or how they'll treat you. For me, health and awareness about issues related to health come before any thing else. It is my cancer and I had to deal with it. Please do not tell me who I can disclose it to. It gives me courage to have social support. If you cannot lend support, please do not stigmatize me, as I am a very important part of this world. I have added to research and science by being a clinical trial patient and I will help in contributing towards future development of medicine and technology. Do not ever look down upon me because of my illness or my genetic mutation.

I encourage everyone to be strong in fighting against this stigma that society has around Breast Cancer and disclosure of the disease.

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5 Replies

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  • Isn't it about time we just Stop thinking about what society thinks and give importance to what we think???? I admire the way you opened up about cancer, shikha. this will surely encourage women around to talk openly about their problems..:)

  • Shikha, that's one very touching experience. There's lots to learn for all. And I really like your statement when you say "I have added to research and science by being a clinical trial patient and I will help in contributing towards future development of medicine and technology." Every single patient of cancer is a treasure house of information. And it is only when all this is assessed, progress and breakthroughs in cancer treatment occurs. Every cancer patient contributes towards the same, knowingly or unknowingly.

  • shikha,hats off to you!i can relate to your experiance as i have also gone through it.keep up the spirit.god bless you!

  • Thank you all! I love the support people can offer and get through sharing experiences and talking to others. This is a great effort and I hope you sign up all your patients and encourage them to use this blog Dr. Sumeet!

  • Great to know your feelings Shikha, since as a breast cancer survivor I believe there is nothing to hide and Cancer is not a disease which is caused because of your own fault or negligence, so why hide? Moreover going through the Marathon treatment is an ordeal by itself and surely society does nothing to help the patient. Whatever is to be faced is to be faced by the patients with the help of the Doctors and other hospital staff only.

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