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Bindu Dinge (Breast Cancer): Do Regular Self-Examination

Bindu Dinge (Breast Cancer): Do Regular Self-Examination

My journey with breast cancer began as a caregiver for my elder sister, which significantly shaped my resilience and approach when I faced my diagnosis years later. After many childless years, I was blessed with twins. Approximately a year and a half later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Diagnosis

One day while taking a bath, I noticed that my nipples had become unusually hard. Having been familiar with the symptoms of breast cancer from caring for my sister, I rushed to the doctor. Given my family history, the doctor recommended a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy and other standard treatments. It was a challenging time, especially with my children being only a year old, but I was confident in the support of my family and my in-laws.

The diagnosis shattered my whole family. My mother, having already lost one daughter to breast cancer, was devastated at the prospect of losing another. My husband, too, was deeply affected; we had just experienced the joy of welcoming our twins, and the cancer diagnosis felt like a harsh return to reality.

Breast Cancer Journey

Initially, I considered resigning from my job at the State Bank of Travancore, but my doctor encouraged me not to. He assured me that I could continue working and managing my daily activities. My employer granted me the flexibility to work according to my capacity, which bolstered my determination to fight the disease. The entire treatment spanned about seven years, during which I never doubted my ability to persevere.

I underwent six chemotherapy sessions but did not require radiation. Although the third chemotherapy session was particularly tough, I managed to complete all my cycles on time.

I used to have long, beautiful hair, and it was hard for me to lose it. But after every chemo, it started growing back and soon, I had my beautiful old hair back. I dealt with that rough period too and used to wear a scarf and wig and became quite used to it.

Counseling Journey

Throughout my treatment, I engaged with other patients, sharing my knowledge and experiences. My doctor suggested that I should join the Indian Cancer Society after retiring from the bank. Now, I work in the rehab department, thoroughly enjoying every moment as I assist patients. I started as a volunteer and have since become a full-time member. My work continued uninterrupted even during lockdown, providing constant support to cancer patients.

We support underprivileged cancer patients by involving them in tasks and compensating them nominally. When they learn about my long-term cancer-free status, they find renewed hope that cancer can be defeated and life can return to normal.

Caregiving Journey

My sister initially noticed a gland in her breast shortly after her son was born, and the gynecologist dismissed it as a milk gland, assuming it was related to her recent childbirth. However, within 3-4 months, the gland had grown to the size of a chikoo. She underwent surgery in Indore, and we later brought her to Mumbai for further treatment. She managed well for the first six months, but then the cancer spread to her brain, and our options became severely limited. During this time, I took a 100-day leave from work to care for her, an experience that profoundly shaped my understanding of how to confront and manage my own illness later on.

At that time, I was unmarried and accompanied her to every clinic visit and doctor's appointment, taking care of her throughout her treatment. She confided everything in me, and we shared a close bond as sisters.

The journey of cancer profoundly impacts the caregiver too. Having experienced both roles—caregiver and patient—I know this firsthand. While caring for my sister, there were times when I could barely eat one chapati because of constant worry. Whenever the phone rang, our hearts would skip a beat.

Family Support

I also cared for my mother and mother-in-law. I love taking care of people and doing the nurse's job. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my family reciprocated the care I had always given them. The support from my family was incredible, and they continue to be protective of me. My doctor was also instrumental in my recovery, always available to address any concerns. His guidance is a major reason I do not suffer from lymphedema even after 20 years

Self Examination and Early Detection

It is very important to do regular self-examination. I found out that my nipples were harder than they should be while bathing one day. And in ten days after my self-detection, I had my surgery done. In fact it took ten days, only because the doctor was on holiday due to Navaratri vacations. And my request to everyone reading this is to do a regular self-examination, as it will help you diagnose your cancer much earlier.


My lifestyle has not changed much after my Breast Cancer diagnosis. I have always been a vegetarian, and my social and work life also continued as such.

When I finally came to know that I was cancer-free, I was filled with tears of happiness. Now I am just doing everything that I want, without letting my age come in between.

Parting Message

The word "cancer" is scary, but it is curable if detected early. We should address it early, and if you notice any symptoms, you should get them checked. Nowadays, even third and fourth stage cancer patients are getting cured. Therefore, defeating cancer is not beyond our reach. Many people still feel that a cancer diagnosis means their death sentence is imminent. However, that is not the case, and I am the best example of that.

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