‘Bollywood makes you think cancer not curable’

October 24th, 2008 - 10:42 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) She was detected with breast cancer seven years ago, but Devika Bhojwani, who now spearheads a campaign to spread awareness about the disease, says it was the beginning of a new life.”Traditionally, cancer is seen as the end of life, but for me it was the beginning,” said Mumbai-based Bhojwani, vice president of Savera, Women’s Cancer Initiative - A New Dawn.

“People have many myths and misconceptions associated with breast cancer, they still think it is not curable. Blame it all on Bollywood movies, the way they project this disease is horrible. It seems as if there is no cure for it,” Bhojwani said.

Over the decades films like “Anand”, “Anurag”, “Munnabhai M.B.B.S.”, “Cheeni Kum” and even the recent “Rock On” have shown cancer patients succumbing to the disease.

Bhojwani’s own story exemplifies how one can overcome cancer.

“The day I was detected with cancer, I was a shattered soul. I had lost hope and was sure that I could not deal with it. It was a very devastating fact of my life but somewhere down the line I wanted to fight till my last breath,” Bhojwani, 55, told IANS here.

“I took it as a challenge as I have always dealt with so many ups and downs in life with confidence. I wanted to break the myth that it is a deadly disease. The fact that I am responsible for my family gave me the strength to deal with this disease.”

Savera, in association with the Tata Memorial Hospital, focuses on various issues related to cancer in women such as breast, cervical and ovarian cancers.

Bhojwani was here to walk the ramp along with actresses Minissha Lamba and Sameera Reddy for the breast awareness campaign at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) Oct 16 for designer duo Falguni and Shane Peacock.

“It is my mission to spread awareness about breast cancer, the ramp walk was just one of the means. As most women identify with glamour and fashion, it was a nice platform,” Bhojwani said.

Her main aim is to increase awareness about the importance of regular check-ups when women reach their mid-30s because often the symptoms of breast cancer appear only when the cancer has spread, making treatment difficult, agonising and uncertain.

“Generally a woman neglects her body and gives time to everyone - family, kids, relatives and friends. At the end of the day, she forgets that she too needs care and has to give time to herself,” she pointed out.

“Family should definitely top her priority list, but then she has to take time out for herself too. With this campaign, we just want her to understand the importance of regular checkups.

“I was lucky that my cancer was detected at an early stage, but not everyone is lucky like me. It’s very important for her to understand her body to avoid the big C.”

She said women should not fear breast cancer.

“My message to every woman out there is not to fear it (breast cancer). This is not the end of the world, they should fight it with confidence and never lose the faith and belief that they overcome it,” she concluded.

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