Cancer survivors recall stories of hope

Hemalatha turned away the offer for a wig. She prefers to not cover her head with a piece of cloth. “In the last 44 days, my hair has grown well, and I wanted ‘madam’ to see me,” she said. She was referring to V. Shanta, chairman of the Cancer Institute, Adyar.

A cancer survivor, Hemalatha fought back cancer that recurred after seven years. “I underwent surgery and chemotherapy at the institute after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011. But it returned last December, and I underwent chemotherapy. I got back to my job recently, and the institute has instilled confidence in me,” she said.

The Annual Reunion Day at the Cancer Institute on Friday was a special occasion not just for the cancer survivors but also for doctors and staff. As Dr. Shanta said, “We have gone through with them in their difficulties.” E. Hemanth Raj, vice-chairman of the institute, said cancer survivors were the best ambassadors to carry the message forward. G. Selvaluxmy, director of the Cancer Institute, said 50%-70% of cancers diagnosed in the early stages had a survival for five years.

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