Breast Cancer Survivor Shares Her Winning Formula

Does it mean it’s the end-of-life for some people who are diagnosed with cancer? I bet, to face another day must have been tough for them. Stories by cancer survivors never failed to make me feel inspired. Because to me, they are the real fighters. To be honest, I’d never thought that I would have a real conversation with cancer survivors. So when my lecturer asked my friends and I if we were interested to spend some time with breast cancer survivors in Segamat, Johor, I wholeheartedly said yes.

A group photo with breast cancer patients at Breast Cancer Support Society centre in Segamat
A photo of Breast Cancer Support Society (BCSS) Segamat members in pink t-shirts, and students from UiTM Segamat at the BCSS Centre. We collaborated on Project For Happiness 2018 organised by Khind Starfish Foundation titled “Roses For A Pink Lady”. The Author is standing with a placard, on the far left.

First-Hand Experience Talking To A Cancer Patient

I wouldn’t lie. I was nervous to meet them for the first time because I’ve never experienced talking to a cancer patient before. Knowing how clumsy I am, not ruining the day would be good enough for me. I started playing scenes in my head as we headed to the Breast Cancer Support Society (BCSS) Centre in Segamat. I totally forgot how anxious and worried I was. When we arrived, they welcomed us with open arms, and my doubts vanished. It felt like home, no joke.

Breast Cancer Support Society Segamat’s data shows that there are 366 registered patients. The majority is Chinese, followed by Malays and Indians. According to them, the numbers are considered large for a small district in Johor. In addition, this makes sense as breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide.

The following are several significant lessons that I concluded based on stories shared by a breast cancer survivor.

Breast Cancer: Blessings In Disguise

Life does work mysteriously because we never know what the future has in store for us. But most of the time, we get to choose what’s best for us, don’t we? However, for some people, they are just unfortunate because cancers choose them just like Puan Zorrilah Abd Hamid who is the President of Breast Cancer Support Society Segamat. Although the reality is a hard pill to swallow but giving up was never an option.

Image above shows the symptoms of breast cancer. Breast self-examination is important to detect any signs of breast cancer.
Breast cancer can be treated if signs are detected at an early stage. There are ten symptoms of breast cancer that everyone should be aware of. Seek help from the experts if one notices any changes on her breasts.
Source: Image by Studiogstock from Freepik

She believed that things happen today because they have a purpose later on. “My life would never be normal and the same anymore,” she remarked. However, her family and loved ones became the sole reason for her to stay alive. Perhaps living with chronic disease is a blessing in disguise because everyone comes together to provide moral support. As the quote goes, “Nothing is more important in life than family“. Fate might not do justice to her but she receives boundless love from her family and that’s all that matters.

Breast Cancer And Hope

Some cancer patients became stronger as individuals because they had hope. Other than courage and optimism, it is hope that keeps them going. Hope is the most powerful medicine because of chemicals in the brain such as endorphins and enkephalins can help facilitate healing. The beauty of hope is it’s harmless and free for everyone.

Breast cancer awareness month is in October every year. The pink ribbon is its symbol.
This pink ribbon symbolises breast cancer awareness. October is the official month for breast cancer awareness campaign throughout the whole world.
Source: Image by Marijana from Pixabay

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tunes without the words, and never stops at all.

EMILY DICKINSON, AMERICAN POET

Hope Brought Light Into Her Life

Explaining a cancer diagnosis to patients is already hard enough to do. What more for them to let the news sink in. Similarly, it took Puan Zorrilah quite a while to finally digest her written fate of being a victim to cancer. One day, she realised that she shouldn’t let the cancer control her anymore. That’s when she brought hope into her life. Almost ten years have passed by and she is still around.

Although Puan Zorrilah’s doctor said there could be a relapse in the future, yet she still chooses to hope and pray for better days. She is able to continue with her life up till this day because she believes she will win the battle. And she did. Cancer is still a fearful thing but that only made the ladies stronger than what they imagined.

Nutrients That Help To Reduce Cancer Risks

For someone healthy, I sometimes take my well-being for granted. I do turn a blind eye to unhealthy food, despite knowing the fact they are not good for the body. Aren’t we all the same? For example, we choose to drink bubble tea every week, even though we are aware that its high sugar content can pose a high risk of diabetes, and also lower the body’s immunity.

Most berries contain antioxidants which can protect the body from cell damage.
Berries such as blueberries contain anthocyanin which is one of the antioxidants. It may help to reduce cancer risk and the ageing process.
Source: Image by Nuno Santos by Pixabay

One’s dietary choice does make a difference in reducing breast cancer risks. Although there is no specific food and diet that can prevent breast cancer from happening, antioxidant-rich fruits such as berries help to reduce cancer risk. According to research conducted by Dr Minna Rahnasto-Rilla, there is an enormous existence of anthocyanin found in wild bilberry, blackcurrant and lingonberry. For example, anthocyanin or known as cyanidin helps to reduce the risk of cancer. Nevertheless, prevention is still better than cure, so everyone should practise a healthy diet to stay in good health. Undeniably, taking sufficient greens and fruits is beneficial for the body.

Breast Cancer Survivors: Different People, Different Struggles

Members of Breast Cancer Support Society Segamat. Society took a photo in conjunction of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2018.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Members of Breast Cancer Support Society Segamat were a picture of ‘hope’ during Pink October Awareness Campaign 2018 held at Dewan Serbaguna Pekan Jabi, Segamat.

Life isn’t always a bed of roses, because trials are meant for us to learn how to overcome them. The short visit to BCSS Centre reminds me that one’s problems vary from each other. Different people, different struggles. It could be in the form of a failed marriage, financial struggles, physical or mental illness. What makes us different is how we face difficulties that come our way.

I remember asking a question to the President of BCSS Segamat, “If you have a chance to change anything in life, what would that be?” To be honest, I was in awe by her answer. “I like myself the way I am. If given a chance to swap my life with anyone, I would opt not to. Hence, I don’t need a reason to be angry with God because His plans are the best.” Warriors, indeed they are.  

Health is indeed one of the greatest blessings in life. Therefore, we shouldn’t underestimate this blessing. One should cherish it now by taking special care of it. Every moment of life is a gift and an opportunity. Paint your stories the way you want them to be.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… it’s about learning to dance in the rain!

Vivian greene, BRITISH WRITER

Clinical Breast Examination By Doctors

It is the trend nowadays for people to write a statement based on myths rather than actual facts, which occasionally leads to misinformation. Hence, if you are looking for more accurate information about breast cancer, please go to this website.

Head over to the nearest hospitals around you for more information and schedule a breast examination today. Early detection of breast cancer means that treatment can start early, thus maximising the chances of survival. Drop by Breast Cancer Support Society if you are in Segamat, or you may support them by buying their beautiful handcrafted bags.

Handcrafted bags made by Breast Cancer Support Society Segamat. Recycled materials are used in making the bags.
Some of the handcrafted bags made by members of the Breast Cancer Support Society Segamat. In BCSS, they get to learn how to make bags from recycled material.
Source: Breast Cancer Support Society

If you are having any form of anxiety and need a listening ear to hear you out, please go to this article.


This article is part of Espoletta’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives.

Sarah ZAINAL

About Sarah ZAINAL

Finance major, with a secret love for linguistics, Sarah grew up reading, writing, storytelling, and even dabbling in poetry too. A hardworking lass who loves to learn new things to soak up new experiences.

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