Beating Breast Cancer: Lessons from a Survivor


“When they invited me to be a part of a campaign this year in conjunction with Elle Magazine to raise funds for the OGAAN Cancer Foundation, Delhi, I did not have to think twice.”

Breast Cancer deaths are avoidable because if detected early, it often responds well to treatment. Meet New Delhi-based survivor Anjali Kanwar as a living proof.

Four years back, New Delhi-based Anjali Kanwar was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Two of my mum’s sisters have had breast cancer,” she says, “so I had started getting yearly mammograms done the year I hit 35. The first two were fine, but the third showed early signs.”

Kanwar says she did not feel unwell nor had specific symptoms except that she used to feel like crying all the time. “A few days later,” she reminisces, “as part of some other routine tests, another doctor I was consulting noticed something and suggested an MRI for me. This was followed by a fine needle biopsy which confirmed the breast cancer. I was in for a massive shock.”

The mother of two adult children continues, “I remember that I had been unable to collect my last mammogram report for six months. If someone had called and told me my report was not good, maybe I would have acted earlier and it would not have spread to the lymph nodes.”

The Battle Begins
The initial fight was intense as she cried a lot wondering why she had to go through all the pain and suffering. When her daughter Priyanka came to Delhi for a summer vacation from her college abroad, she was aghast to see Kanwar’s state. As she struggled to accept what her mother was going through, Priyanka resolved that it would not be the end of the world for her mum.

The support compelled Kanwar to find newer ways to deal with the devastating disease. “I cut myself off completely from the social circle,” she says. “I did not want any negative energy of any sort around me. I was very sure that I did not want to be sympathized or told that I was going to die.”

The Secret
“Whenever I had to go to the hospitals, I started taking my new best friend: ‘The Secret’ book,” she smiles. “The other massive change I introduced to my life was a dedication towards working out. I became very active, very suddenly. I pulled out my bucket list of all the things I wanted to do but never had the time. Since dance was something I was always passionate about, I took to learning it in as many forms as possible. Zumba, Salsa, Hip Hop and Bhangra are among some of the forms that I have since learnt.

It was a daunting challenge for Kanwar and her immediate family but they decided to face it together, fearlessly. “Priyanka supported me a lot”, reiterates the proud mother.

The cancerous tumor was eventually removed in a lumpectomy that included the removal of her lymph nodes. Kanwar says she underwent eight cycles of chemotherapy and radiation to become cancer-free.

Winning The Odds
Kanwar admits that she managed to beat cancer because she had a rather easily treatable form of tumor and being very cautious helped her catch it early.

“Once I was back to normal, I decided to realize one of my many dreams to support and sponsor the economically weak and underprivileged breast cancer patients,” says Kanwar. “I joined the Breast Cancer Patients Benefit Foundation (BCPBF), founded by Dr. Sameer Kaul, a well known oncologist at Apollo. I have also run the Pinkathon thrice since because I believe fitness is extremely important,” says she.

My connection with Sue Mue
Kanwar says her connection with Sue Mue dates back to the days when she was a young, bride-to-be. “My wedding outfit and trousseau had been stitched by them,” she blushes. “I have had a fashion manufacturing background and which is why I am choosy about where I get my personal clothes stitched from. I find Sue Mue’s clothes to be quite classy and the stitching great even today.”

Few people know that Sue Mue has, in the past, lost some of its dear ones to Cancer.

This October, whenever someone buys something from the Autumn/Winter collection, Sue Mue will pay a percentage of it to the Cancer Foundation.

“I want people to know,” she concludes, that a diagnosis like this, which can be nothing else but negative, can be turned around into a positive outcome.”

What Is Breast Cancer? Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast.
Types Of Tumors Breast cancer tumors can be categorized by the size, type of cells, and the characteristics that fuel its growth. They are categorized into benign tumors and malignant tumors.
Early Detection If diagnosed in its early stages, breast cancer, in the localized stage, has 100% chances of survival. Patients are advised to do self-exams every month and visit the doctor for regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.
Stages Once the diagnosis of the person is done, the doctor decides how far the disease has spread and how best it can be treated.
Who is at threat? Women who have a family member with a case of breast cancer fall in a higher risk group as compared to those who have no family history.