Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Hiding cancer because he was afraid of people’s tongues

Avatar of Nick John By Nick John Dec17,2023 #because #Hiding
Hiding cancer because he was afraid of people's tongues 7
Hiding cancer because he was afraid of people's tongues 7

Others went to the hospital too late, suffering on their own because they were afraid of their family’s reaction.

Dark days

Pravina Patel, an Indian breast cancer patient, recently shared with British media about her experience.

`I just thought if people heard the truth that I had cancer, they would consider it a death sentence,` she shared.

In India and other Asian countries, many people still consider cancer as `retribution`, a punishment for the patient.

She continued to keep her illness a secret throughout her treatment, a decision that made her battle with cancer even more lonely.

`I struggled alone with chemotherapy sessions. There were days when everything was extremely dark,` she recounted.

A cancer patient in India was asked by her husband and family to wear a hat to hide her illness.

According to Dr. Pooja Saini, research team leader at the CLAHRC North-West Coast Center, part of the National Health Service (NHS), women’s fear of cancer becomes the reason they cannot get married, because of genetic concerns.

`Some women don’t even go to the doctor because if they get treatment, they will lose their hair, revealing their health condition,` she explains.

It is difficult to know how deeply ingrained that mentality is, as there has been little work analyzing mortality rates across ethnic groups.

Rare NHS research shows that Asian women, aged 15 to 64, have a significantly low three-year survival rate from breast cancer.

Cultural pressure

Stigma surrounding cancer in the South Asian community spans many different forms.

Patel said women are hesitant to get a pap smear test because they don’t want to `be contaminated` or be seen as `not pure.`

Some patients seek medical help too late.

Nabila Farooq, a Southeast Asian cancer patient support officer in Manchester, recounted many cases of refusing to tell her husband that he had breast cancer.

`Some women think that they will not get breast cancer if they are faithful to their husbands. To medical experts, this is ridiculous. But that idea is deeply ingrained in psychology, affecting screening habits.

Hiding cancer because he was afraid of people's tongues

Mammogram images for cancer screening.

Others see cancer as simply bad luck, or karma that the patient must accept.

The death rate is absurdly high

Statistics show that Asians and minority communities are not screened for cancer as often as white people.

`Due to lack of understanding and not going to the doctor early, when they seek help, the tumor has spread and is very difficult to treat. The high mortality rate leads to another stereotype, that when you have cancer, you

Agarwal recounted the case of a patient who was so late in treatment that her breasts became infected with fungus and became stinky.

`It smelled so bad that you couldn’t even sit next to her,` she shared.

The patient later died because the tumor spread to other parts of the body.

Dr. Pooja Saini is calling on health officials to collect more data on cancer screening habits by ethnic group.

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