Breast cancer in the first person
"It is estimated that one in eight women will suffer from breast cancer throughout her life," says the assistant doctor of the Medical Oncology Service and coordinator of the breast and gynecological pathology section of the Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus, Kepa Amillano. Thus, coinciding today with the World Day, the testimony of those who fight against cancer transcends to normalize the disease.
Ana Sarb explains that breast cancer has changed her life. “When I was diagnosed, I had been working cleaning homes for 15 years and little by little I had to give it up.” Sarb, from Romania and settled in Reus for years, put her job on hold when she began treatment and “also a dream”: to open a pastry shop in the city of Reus.
The search for a place to open a cake business in the capital of Baix Camp was interrupted by the arrival of the pandemic and later by the appearance of cancer. When they discovered a lump in his chest, they only attended by phone due to Covid-19. "I realized that it was something serious when the doctor asked me to go in person," adds Ana Sarb.
The lack of confidence has meant a "long" process for women: "I belonged to the most vulnerable group." During that time back to normal, "I felt very supported by my husband, my children and my neighbor, who was always looking out for me when I came back from chemotherapy." The process to slow down the effects of the disease has been "hard". Six months of chemotherapy, the operation, the radiotherapy sessions and at the moment, "I follow a hormonal treatment that I have to maintain between five and 10 years, in addition to pain pills."
The treatment has weakened her physically and caused her body to change. Sabr was affected by gaining weight due to the medication and the doctor told him about the Lliga contra el Càncer de les Comarques de Tarragona i Terres de l'Ebre, where I have found more women with the same cancer and others, «we are encouraged and we hear". Knowing the Lliga has allowed Sarb to practice yoga, where "I relax and move, that helps me with the cramps that give me in one hand".
"Cancer lives among us, and more and more." With these words, Lluïsa Bertomeu (Deltebre) speaks naturally about breast cancer -coinciding, today, with the World Day- because «for me, it is a way of being aware of the disease».
journalist by profession, Lluïsa Bertomeu was diagnosed with breast cancer with bone metastases last year. «It all started with severe back pain, very exaggerated. So, the first thing I did was go to the physiotherapist, but not noticing relief, she recommended that I go to the traumatologist », recalls the woman from Eltebra.
"At that time, The specialist ordered different diagnostic tests, including a CT scan, the result of which showed that he had metastases, but it did not reflect where the cancer was, although it was advanced»explains Lluïsa Bertomeu, who adds that «After the diagnosis they admitted me -this was the hardest moment- to do more tests, until they found that it was breast cancer with bone metastasis».
Therefore, it regrets that «I have had bad luck, because normally the tumors are round and palpable, but the one I have is between fibers, and, although there are cases, it is unusual». In this sense, emphasizes "that every year, since I was 35, I had an ultrasound and a mammogram, but it was not until the first symptoms appeared, when the bone metastasis had already affected some vertebrae in the back and neck, that we knew of the existence of the disease.
Regarding the treatment, Lluïsa Bertomeu details that "I underwent ten sessions of radiotherapy located in the back, to stop the advance of the metastasis, since the affected areas cannot be cured". Now, she goes on to explain, "The efforts of the doctors, through treatment, are aimed at controlling and preventing the metastasis from affecting other organs, such as the liver or the ovaries, but in the latter case they operated on me to remove them."
for all thisLluïsa Bertomeu trusts that her testimony will serve to "normalize the disease because, luckily, there are many women who fight and survive cancer."