‘I wasn’t very brave, used to cry all the time’: Mahima Chaudhry opens up about her breast cancer journey

Anupam Kher, recently, took to Instagram to share a video of actor Mahima Chaudhry in which she reveals her diagnosis and battle with breast cancer.

“I called #MahimaChaudhry a month back from the US to play a very important role in my 525th film #TheSignature. Our conversation turned to her discovering that she has #BreastCancer. What followed is this candid conversation between us,” he wrote, sharing the actor’s story of “courage and cancer”.

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Revealing that the cancer was detected during the yearly routine check-up, Mahima said, “I didn’t have any symptoms. I get a yearly test done, including blood tests and sonography. It was one such annual checkup where the person doing my sonography said that I should get this checked by Dr Mandar, who is an oncologist.” She shared that while the doctor suggested a biopsy, he did say that it “doesn’t look like anything”, explaining to her that “these are pre-cancer cells called DCIS. Sometimes, they become cancer and, sometimes, they don’t.”

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Mahima further shared that when the expert asked her if she wanted to get them removed — “I wanted to get them removed”. “We did a biopsy and it didn’t come as cancer. It was negative. But, I still wanted to take it out. When we took it out and the doctors did the biopsy of the cells that were removed, they found tiny portions of cells that had already become cancer,” the Pardes actor shared.

While the actor knew that it was treatable, she couldn’t help but feel scared and vulnerable. “The doctor said that they need to give me chemotherapy. I started crying. If you catch it early, cancer is treatable. But, we are just so terrified of the word cancer, which is why I didn’t share it with my parents. My mother, especially, is very vulnerable. I just went and told her, ‘Mummy, I have a lump in my breast so I had it removed. That’s why I didn’t see you for 10 days.’ Listening to this, her blood pressure just went up and down, and she was passing out. By the evening, we had to take her to the hospital,” she said.

The actor admits to “feeling very good” as she began shooting for the film, The Signature.

During the course of the treatment, Mahima found strength and inspiration in other women and children coming for the treatment. She said, “I learnt from a lot of women who were coming for chemotherapy. They were like, ‘I am going to work straight from here’. I was like, ‘Why do you have to work? Doesn’t your company give you an off today?’ They would say, “They do, and it was paid for but I don’t like to sit at home. I like to work when I am doing this and it just makes me feel normal.’”

“I was not the very brave one. I was crying all the time till I met a little boy. I heard his voice and he gave me strength. During my half-chemo, I said to him, just to make a conversation, ‘Arey aapki dawai bas itni hai, meri toh itni saari hai‘. He said, ‘Isi se toh theek hote hai‘. When I told him that I feel a lot of pain due to this, he said, ‘Mai paanch din let’ta hun bas. Uske baad toh mai khelta hun‘.”

Calling Mahima her “hero”, Kher wrote, “Her attitude will give hope to so many women all over the world. She wanted me to be part of her disclosing about it. She calls me an eternal optimist but dearest Mahima! “You are my HERO!” Friends! Send her your love, warmth, wishes, prayers and blessings. She is BACK on sets where she belongs. She is ready to fly. All those producers/directors out there! Here is your opportunity to tap on her brilliance! Jai ho to her!”

Earlier, Dr Geeth Monnappa, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Fortis La Femme Hospital, Richmond Road, Bengaluru, had shared some signs of breast cancer, apart from the lumps in the breast, that need immediate attention.

*Change in the size or shape of the breast
*Nipple discharge
*Pulling in of the nipple (inverted nipple)
*Redness or flaky skin in the nipple of the breast
*Irritation or dimpling of the breast skin

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