October is World Cancer Awareness Month. The Disease is among the leading causes of death worldwide. By 2040, the number of new cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 29.5 million and the number of cancer-related deaths to 16.4 million.
According to scientists, getting tested can help in the early detection and treatment of most cancers. Most tragic cases of cancer go undetected until the later stages when it might be too late to get treatment.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Nadia Chaudhry, a neuroscientist living in Canada started a battle with Ovarian cancer. The brave mother, wife and scientist spent most of her final days in palliative care.
Taking to Twitter regularly to share her journey, Dr. Chaudhri chronicled every pain, symptom and discomfort. She used her account to spread awareness about the disease, and helped raise funds for numerous projects.
Dr. Chaudhri succumbed to Ovarian cancer on the 5th of this month after a 2 year battle. Her twitter account is punctuated with useful information, including a thread that gave details of her symptoms until diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Chaudhri said she wanted to share her gritty story with the aim of creating awareness. In January 2020, the 43 year old Neuroscientist shares that she started experiencing some symptoms with discomfort in her abdomen.
When she explained the symptoms at a hospital, she was treated for a UTI, even though she did not present all symptoms. She wrote that she was tired, had vague abdominal pain, severe lower back pain & a mild increase in frequency to urinate.
“I also got an endovaginal ultrasound that showed free fluid in the abdomen & the possibility of a ruptured left ovarian cyst. The recommendation was to follow up in 3 months.”
The Dr. said that by February, all symptoms had returned.
“Come March, the pandemic struck. By now my abdomen was bloated and I was in moderate pain. My bowel movements had changed too so I kept taking stool softeners. I couldn’t see my doctor because of the pandemic. I was incredibly tired but I chalked it up to the pandemic.”
The Dr. said that in May 2020, a second endovaginal ultrasound showed that her ovaries were enlarged and had moved towards the middle of the abdomen. The radiologist suggested an endometriosis diagnosis.
She shared her latest diagnosis with her uncle who suggested that she get tested for cancer. The cancer markers are medically named CA 125, CA 19 and CEA.
“My CA 125 came back at 925. The normal level is 0-35.”
“The next day I had an endovaginal ultrasound followed by a CT scan and blood work. Four days later I was told that 24 of 25 doctors in the tumour board said I had ovarian cancer.”
Dr. Chaudhri had surgery to remove the cancer, but unfortunately the symptoms came back in December, just six months later.
She said the most difficult moment was when she had to tell her son, who she fondly referred to as her son and her moon, that she was dying of cancer in May this year.
Dr. Chaudhri advised people to pay attention to their bodies.
“Know your bodies. Pay attention to fatigue and changes in bowel/urinary tract movements. Make sure you understand all the words on a medical report. Do not dismiss your pain or malaise. Find the expert doctors.”
The brave doctor, concluded by saying
“I am not afraid”
The tweet went viral as Netizens celebrated the life of the Neuroscientist who had displayed such bravery in the face of adversity, and impacted lives by sharing her journey with the deadly disease.
The news of her demise was shared by the Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, where she was a professor researching drug and alcohol abuse.