Her name is Silvia, but it could also have been Marta, Ruth or even José. She was 44 when she learned that she had hormone-sensitive breast cancer. She had just gone through a rough patch, with her father’s sickness and death completely absorbing her and hitting her hard emotionally.
One day her husband told her that she had a little lump on her left breast. “It’ll be nothing,” Silvia replied. She has very fibrous breasts and this kind of anomaly seemed normal to her. The fact is that it kept nagging at her and with her father’s death she kept thinking “and what if it IS something” more and more. With everything that had happened, more than a year and a half has passed since she had gotten a check-up, so she decided to make an appointment.
After the routine examination, her gynecologist confirmed the lump and she went for a mammogram and ultrasound, which ultimately confirmed her suspicion. Silvia had cancer. And now what?
This was unchartered territory for her. A thousand thoughts passed through her head, and she was flooded with all sorts of emotions. She was more terrified of the chemotherapy than of the disease itself. She had no idea what was coming. She was afraid, but she was going to fight for herself and her family.
The diagnosis was clear, and if she wanted to beat the cancer, she was going to need chemotherapy and radiotherapy. And so it was for 6 long months.
Her experience has been the greatest life lesson. “It sounds crazy, but cancer has brought me a lot of good things,” says Silvia. “I’ve met wonderful people who are now part of my life, and most importantly, I’ve learned to get to know myself and who I really am.” Her personality wouldn’t let her go out without putting herself together: “I would put on my heels, my wig and fill in my eyebrows. For me, it was really important to feel like myself. This helped me keep going every day.”
She is an optimistic person and likes to enjoy life. She did not want to stop working at any time, only when her treatment wouldn’t let her. Her family became her main pillar, and her home her refuge. “My husband supported me and stood by me from day one, but I relied so much on my daughter. She was only 9 years old then. For me, she was my angel,” recalls Silvia, getting emotional.
After almost 5 years, she is still on hormone therapy. Like everyone who has gone through this experience, cancer has changed Silvia’s life. Nothing is the same as it was before: she no longer gets her period, his hands and feet fall asleep because of the medication, her sexual relations have also been affected, but she continues to smile because she says she now knows what she is capable of, how strong she is and that this is more important than any sequelae of the disease.
Cancer remains one of the leading causes of death in the world. Although the number of breast cancer deaths has decreased considerably in recent years, it has become the most common cancer worldwide with an incidence of 2.3 million new cases last year. It is estimated that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
It is, therefore, important to follow a balanced diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but it is even more important to perform self-examinations and have regular check-ups, as detecting cancer in time helps to have a better prognosis of the disease and decreases mortality.