Stories about cancer

The things you hear when you have cancer

I love the beach because it engages one in communion with the divine elements. I often stand at the beach and bury my feet in the sand. I joyfully delve into the sea and bask in the sun. Finally, I let myself be caressed by the whispering breeze. However, as I write this, the only thought running through my head is that I will never experience these four elements together again; that I will never be able to go back to my beloved Karachi’s beaches – that I am as good as gone. No family wants to hear what we were told the ...

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Depression: Shamed into silence

In the dictionary, the term depression is defined as a ‘severe despondency and dejection, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy’ or as a ‘condition of mental disturbance, typically with lack of energy and difficulty in maintaining concentration or interest in life’. However, nowhere in the above definitions, have we come across the words ‘weakness’ or ‘illness’. So, why do our people of South Asian origin consider depression as something disgraceful? Studies have shown that women are more likely to suffer from depression than men are and, from the list of ethnic identities, South Asian women – whether they are Pakistani, ...

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Is Mubarak afraid to stand trial?

Hosni Mubarak’s “deteriorating” health just two weeks before the former Egyptian statesman is scheduled to stand trial seems all too convenient. As doctors at Sharm el-Sheikh International Hospital in the Red Sea resort community, where Mubarak has been admitted since mid-April, keep denying reports of the former Egyptian president’s “worsening condition”, his lawyer continues to feed the media reports alleging that Mubarak isn’t getting any better. On Sunday, Mubarak’s lawyer Farid El Deeb said that the former president had slipped into “a complete coma”. However, Egyptian state media soon reported that the hospital director had denied the report. Just last month, Deeb ...

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Busting myths about shisha

There is a common misconception in Pakistan that smoking shisha is not as harmful as smoking cigarettes. This notion exists despite the publication of research conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which shows that an average pipe smoking session of around an hour is equivalent to smoking up to 200 cigarettes. Cancer, TB and dreary consequences Scientific studies regarding the adverse health consequences of smoking shisha point to dangers that are similar to, if not worse than, those associated with smoking cigarettes. Research conducted on shisha use has clearly shown that it has particularly serious health consequences on the lungs and ...

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Funeral etiquette: Do’s and dont’s for the not so bereaved

I lost my mother on January 12, 2011. I was at the airport, waiting to board my plane to London but the flight had been delayed due to heavy fog. Just as the call for boarding came, my brother called me and broke the news that she was critical. I forgot everything and grabbed the first taxi to the hospital. I had talked to my mother just two hours before, and she had been home, getting ready for her regular checkup. She sounded fine. Upon reaching the hospital, she died suddenly due to heart failure. To say the event was shocking would be ...

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2010: The year my mother didn’t die

The eve of a new year brings hope and the promise of positive expectations to all. There is a chance to believe in dreams again. A hope that the resolutions left unfulfilled last year may finally be achieved in the new one. I was also excited about the year 2010. It would be the year when I would go back to my beloved Pakistan after completing my higher education in the UK. I was excited about meeting my family and rediscovering my home city , Lahore from the eyes of someone who has been away from home for so long ...

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Breast cancer myths: It’s not as rare as you think

My aunt was diagnosed with cancer three years ago. It came as quite a shock because like everyone else, we thought cancer was something that could not possibly affect us or our loved ones. Two of my friends had already lost their mothers to cancer the same year. We were worried and consultations with doctors led to a unanimous decision that she need not go far for her treatment. Shaukat Khanam Cancer Hospital provides the best treatment for cancer patients. That prompt decision, early diagnosis and treatment helped my aunt get better. She is now cancer-free. Could I have breast cancer? My childhood ...

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Burqa, babes and breast cancer

When I saw the video  of two women (one of them Muslim) walking around Paris veiled faces and bare legs, I couldn’t figure out what the purpose was. Yes, they want to bring attention to the burqa ban, but what is their stance on it? Regardless of whether I am for the ban or not my only thought was: well, they look silly, and the video certainly wouldn’t change my take on the matter. If their intention is to support freedom of dress, I suppose they are making a statement (along with creating a great photo op for everyone on ...

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Quacks with advertising budgets

Here is a shout out to cable viewers in Rawalpindi – everybody who knows who Dr. Adnan Aziz is, say ‘I’. He claims to be the family doctor for the wazir-e-azam of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. (Don’t ask how he can remain the family doctor of the PM for the last three years when AJK has seen quite a few changes on the ministerial throne.) In fact don’t ask anything, just marvel at the amazing messiah–like powers the good doctor possesses. He can cure anything from kidney stones to infertility. And not just that! He will do it all in the environment of a discotheque. (I haven’t ...

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A cigarette a day, may kill your wife

Most people in Pakistan are aware of the hazards of tobacco use but general awareness on the hazards of second and thirdhand smoking is minimal. Most people including children can be seen inhaling tobacco toxins in public transport, shopping centers, restaurants and other public places. First, what is the difference between second and third hand smoke? Smoking by association Secondhand smoking or passive smoking is the inhalation of smoke, called secondhand smoke (SHS) or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) from tobacco products used by others. The term third-hand smoke was recently coined to identify the residual tobacco smoke contamination that remains after a cigarette is ...

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