Breast cancer survivors feel neglected due to lack of emotional care from kin

Kathmandu, June 14

Most survivors of breast cancer suffer from depression due to lack of psychological care from family members.

Approximately 1,500 women each year suffer from breast cancer in Nepal. The disease is also one of the leading causes of deaths among women. Signs of breast cancer are mostly found in women above 40 years of age.

Rejina Mulmi KC, 42, a breast cancer survivor of Sitapaila, Kathmandu was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33 after which she underwent breast surgery.

“After I underwent breast surgery everyone looked down on me. Not only this, the physical changes in my body changed my husband’s feelings for me, causing me extreme emotional distress,” she said. She now has a breast implant.

Nilam Agrawal, originally from India, and currently residing in Basantapur for five years, said she had spent nearly Rs 300,000 for breast cancer treatment. She is a mother of three children.

“My husband is an electrician and he couldn’t afford my treatment. We are deep in debt since I was diagnosed with cancer. I was in depression thinking about the education and future of my three children. Along with the physical pain, I have been going through mental distress,” she shared.

According to Dr Kapendra Amatya, head of Department of Surgical Oncology at Nepal Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Lalitpur, women who undergo breast surgery are deprived of family support and husband’s love and care. Moreover, these women face humiliation and are neglected by family and society.

He said around 70 to 80 per cent women with breast cancer live only for a few years mainly due to psychological trauma. “If they get family support, love and care, they can live long. Nowadays, with the help of advanced technology, early stage breast cancer can be easily cured and they can live like before.”