Being Open About Breast Cancer
'I will ride cancer; cancer will not ride me'. An Indian dancer and a Jamaican athlete who were diagnosed with breast cancer at the peak of their physical condition tell Kim Chakanetsa how they got through their treatment by focussing on their passions.
Novlene Williams-Mills is an exceptional Jamaican sprinter who has competed - and won medals - in four Olympic Games. In 2012, just before the London Olympics, she found out she had breast cancer. Despite the diagnosis, she decided to compete, and helped Jamaica bring home a bronze medal in the 400 metre relay. Four surgeries later, she is cancer-free. Throughout her treatment Novlene continued to run because when she's on the track, she says all her problems disappear.
Ananda Shankar Jayant is an award-winning Indian dancer and choreographer, known for her talent in two classical dance forms Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. She says as soon as she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, she made a decision that she would not succumb to the 'bogeyman' of cancer, and would keep dancing, even through chemotherapy. By focussing on her what she loves to do, she says she was able to stay positive. Now also all-clear, Ananda continues to teach and perform dance, and recently launched a dance app called Natyarambha.
L-Image: Novlene Williams-Mills. Credit: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
R-Image: Ananda Shankar Jayant. Credit: G Muralidhar