Lifestyle

The Avenues’ Message to Women: “There’s No Excuse”

Three brave women share their experience with breast cancer.

Written By The Avenues Insider

25 Oct, 2021

For Breast Cancer Awareness month, The Avenues launched its ‘There’s No Excuse’ campaign to encourage regular checkups in cooperation with the Cancer Awareness Nation (CAN). 

The campaign’s message is clear: Ladies, there is no excuse to delay your checkups, your health comes first. The campaign involved specialists offering medical information and guidance regarding breast cancer to visitors, in addition to a number of breast cancer survivors who shared their experiences and advice to women.

Below are the stories of three brave women, who’ve graciously shared with The Avenues Insider their personal experience with breast cancer and explained the importance of early detection as well as having a strong support system. 

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Shirin Kamshad, 42, Currently Battling Breast Cancer

Engineer Shirin Kamshad, a warrior still battling breast cancer, explained that she first felt a lump while doing her routine self-exam, which she urges all women of all ages to do [self-exam].

Shirin added that the support and love of her family and friends have truly helped lift her spirits since discovering she had breast cancer, saying: “Their presence in my life is a blessing, especially my sister Zeinab who has been my rock, she’s had a big role in making me smile and being there for me, and I thank her with all my heart for everything.”

When asked about how she deals with cancer, she said: “I trust God Almighty that he will help me overcome this stage, and deal with breast cancer like any other disease; thankfully, my workplace is very understanding, although I never stopped going to work, I would take some time off when I feel too tired after my chemo sessions, then get right back to work whenever I feel better! I’ve continued living my life normally as if I didn’t have any disease.

She added, "although my hair has fallen out, I do not cover my head. I am proud of my strength to face life; I go to work, take care of my children, cook, and do other household chores… honestly, I only have breast cancer on paper.”

As for what keeps her going during her treatment journey, Kamshad said: “Patience and strength. I always pray to God for patience and strength.”

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Menna Farag, Breast Cancer Survivor

Menna Farag, a breast cancer survivor, pointed out that early detection is neither difficult nor expensive, it greatly helps in treatment and increases the recovery rate up to 90%. Menna realized she needed to get checked when she ‘accidentally’ discovered a lump on her breast; on that same day, she went to the doctor who advised her to get an ultrasound because she was younger than 40, and that’s when the tumor was confirmed.

She explained the importance of mental health, saying: “your mental health strongly contributes to strengthening your immune system, and I say this of experience. The love and support of my friends and family really helped with my mental health; optimism and patience greatly helped in getting rid of cancer.”

Farag believes the weapon to fighting breast cancer is for a woman to accept the disease and whatever changes that might bring into her life, take the treatment, follow a healthy diet, and leave the rest to God.

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Aisha Al-Jheel, 33, Breast Cancer Survivor

Aisha Al-Jheel, another breast cancer survivor and the first Kuwaiti to be diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 23 without any family history, shared the moment she realized she had breast cancer: “During Fajr prayer, I just knew something was wrong with my right breast. I went to the doctor who performed the tests that confirmed cancer”. Aisha was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and successfully underwent chemotherapy for 6 months, which resulted in the removal of both her breasts during an operation that lasted 18 hours.

She revealed that the support of her friends and family was the reason behind improving her mental health and that her faith in God’s ability to heal her was her weapon to beating cancer.

Al-Jheel advised women to regularly self-examine, as she believes that early detection can save their lives.

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