Treading with courage – how I beat cancer

Junu Das, a cancer survivor from Guwahati, narrates the inspirational story of her conquest of the disease

Junu Das

Junu’s courage, willpower and determination to beat cancer has been one of the driving factors of living a cancer survivor’s life today — after nine years of distress. She eagerly shares her inspirational journey with us.

“Diagnosed with cancer at the age of 29, I was initially heartbroken and questioned destiny. Why me, what will happen to my daughter, will I be able to survive? Gradually I composed myself, one day at a time, and with support from my family, I was able to beat cancer. I stepped into a new phase of my life, with new hope.

“It was during the year 2009. I was at my workplace when I first noticed unusual changes in my breast. Thereafter, every day there was a brownish discharge from the nipple and I wasn’t sure what it was. I had an FNAC and a mammography done and the reports flagged red as a suspected case. My whole world collapsed with my worst worries coming true! With shock, anger and with obvious thoughts and questions, I struggled to drive out negativity from my life. All I wished for was to stay healthy and be around for my three-year old.

What next?

“Following the report, I underwent a successful lumpectomy to remove the cancerous tissue at Apollo Hospital, Kolkata. But, that wasn’t the end of it! A biopsy report post my surgery suggested positive for cancer. In physical and psychological dilemma, I feared societal rejection because of the stigma around cancer.

“I underwent a series of chemotherapy and radiation sessions at B Barooah Cancer Institute. After the treatment, I was told that there was no detectable cancer and I was free of it.

“But in 2013, cancer knocked on my doors again, bringing with it yet another round of pain and trauma. This time my experience was bad, 25 chemotherapies and the obvious side effects. I used to sleep for weeks at a stretch, and progress was slow.

“Although depressed, I was determined to beat cancer and live my life to the fullest. It has been an emotional journey and I believe my determination was the only light at the end of the tunnel. Finally in 2018, after lengthy and painful processes of treatment, I conquered cancer.

“Now I don’t think about cancer when I wake up in the morning. Today I can proudly say that I am a cancer survivor and free of cancer too. I am proud of myself for handling this phase of my life the way I did. To beat cancer is challenging, but it’s possible. After dealing with cancer I realise I'm a lot stronger than I could have ever imagined.

“Those who feel that there is something unusual happening in their body should immediately go for screening. Cancer is curable only when it is detected on time. Cancer does not necessarily mean a death sentence. It’s all about our approach towards the disease — stay positive and go for screening at regular intervals.

“As a cancer survivor, I have set clear goals for myself to create awareness and fight against cancer, to help people realise the importance of being educated and advocating for themselves. These two things have helped me immensely during my breast cancer journey.”