Cancer, which is often described as a journey that starts with diagnosis, followed by treatment and then recovery, is a life-changing experience. Be it for the family or for the patient himself, the disease gives survivors a new approach to life, a will to fight and a never-give-up spirit.
This year, ‘I am and I will’ is the theme that the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) has proposed. The theme acknowledges that everyone has the capacity to act in the face of cancer.
On World Cancer Day, marked on February 4 every year, Muscat Daily spoke to a few cancer survivors on their expectations after recovery and the journey ahead.
“Cancer is a word feared and often seen as terminal. It’s important to remember that more people survive cancer than die from it and that within the next decade, 1 in 2 people will be affected by cancer at some point in their lives,” Emily Shotter, a Muscat-based cancer survivor who finished her treatment 21 months ago, said.
According to Emily the treatment can be tough. “Education is supremely important as is demystifying the disease. Yes, cancer is tough and treatment can be tougher! But keep up the fight, look after your body and mind and stay positive. Even in the face of adversity, the body and mind can do amazing things,” she said.
Regular examination leads to early detection which means shorter less invasive treatment and cure, said Yuthar al Rawahy, founder and honorary life president, Oman Cancer Association (OCA).
“Cancer can be prevented and treated effectively by simple lifestyle changes too. We must be vigilant about our diet and exercise and listen to our bodies and take swift action when we notice anything different or unusual. Don’t be afraid, empower yourself.”
Narrating his personal experience while battling cancer, Sameer al Musalmy, said that timely intervention is the key in tackling the disease. “It was very difficult for me to decide what to do when doctors at The Royal Hospital told me that I had cancer and needed an operation. It took me eight months to decide on the operation. I consulted various specialists even though I was in pain. We should not just sit and wait but rather fight no matter what it takes,” he said.
According to OCA, the year 2020 will always be memorable and historical for Oman for many reasons. It is the year when Oman will be hosting the UICC World Cancer Leaders Summit and the World Cancer Congress. The event will be held in October.
OCA requests people not to forget the families of cancer patients especially their children and calls upon every one to embrace the concept of cancer prevention and control all cancers by believing that ‘Repeated regular examination gives early diagnosis and cure’.