Breast Cancer at Age 26. A Kenyan Breast Cancer Survivor Story

I am Dorcas  Njeri Njuguna from Nairobi, Kenya. I was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 0 when i was 26years of age, single and with no child. It was very devastating and especially the thought of losing a breast and maybe never ever going to bear a child neither  get married.

I had never met a cancer survivor in my life and so there was no exemption that i was going to die in a short time and especially if i begun my chemotherapy. That day when the doctor told me of my diagnosis i cried the whole night, wrote my eulogy and was ready to die.

Thanks to my family and friends who were of great support during this time, because they really encouraged me, sourced information on cancer which they shared with me and I later came to accept the situation as it was. Was lucky to get treatment options from my doctor which included conservation therapy but that meant I had to travel out of the country. I underwent axillary lymph dissection two weeks after having gone through a lumpectomy.

Luckily i was oestrogen-progestron hormone receptor status negative and no metastasis. This was later followed by a liver ultrasound, bone scan and all was well.

In November 2006 I begun chemotherapy six sessions monthly followed by linear acceleration Radiation 35cycles in Aga-khan Hospital Pakistan. I believe early detection saves life. Ever since I thank God for I am cancer free. Now am a mother to a 20months old baby boy and a wife. Ever since I do breast cancer awareness campaigns every year in different towns to educate women on breast cancer. I would love to volunteer in your organization during your mission to Kenya.

Life Without Breast. A New Tribe of Scarred Breast Cancer Heroes

mastectomy 4“Breast cancer is not a Pink Ribbon”. Please say that out loud and tell it to your friends”BREAST CANCER IS NOT A PINK RIBBON”. The diagnosis of breast cancer is a chilling experience not only to the sufferers themselves but also the families and friends around them.  The attention breast cancer get is high yet not high enough that we need to not only talk about the pink ribbons but also address what breast cancer treatment is all about. It’s time to take the bull by its horns!

Scar 1Breast is the greatest symbol of femininity in all mammals. In many mammals, the only way to tell the physical difference between a male and a female is the mammary glands AKA breast, or udder in four-legged animals.  Breast cancer specifically affects the greatest symbol of femininity tearing down and shattering many women definition of beauty. Cancer treatment, even worse takes away the most prominent feminine features of human beings like hair, eye lashes, breast, skin and nails.

Breast reconstruction after mastectomy in breast cancer treatment is not only physically painful but also emotionally and sexually destructive. Women value breast as one of their strongest attraction points for men. This explains why we spend billions of dollars every year to augment breast so as to look “HOT” and appealing to men

I was searching Google on breast cancer survival stories and I noticed that very few stories talk about the emotional pain women go through during their breast cancer fight. Very few breast cancer survival stories address the issue of mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgeries that only happen to well insured and those whose condition allows.

mastectomy 5I came across the SCAR project by David Jay, a fashion photographer who has committed his photography into re-empowering women after mastectomy. David is a true hero to me because as a man, he has taken the greatest stigma of feminine beauty and used it to show breast cancer survivors that they can be beautiful even after breast cancer surgery

mastectomy 6Breasts are normally obscured in non-pornographic photography/media but David defied the norms and used his photography to show how women look after mastectomy. Rather than demoralizing, David’s photography is empowering and creating a new tribe where the world will view breast differently.

In many situations total radical mastectomy needs to be done to save breast cancer sufferer life. In some occasions, even reconstruction may not be possible. David Jay’s scar project has proven against the normal expectations that by photographing women for the scar project is not only helping women regain the courage, confidence and positive view of their femininity and sexuality but also empowering the public to view them as beautiful again.


scar2To me, these SCAR project pictures show a new shift in society’s acceptance of a tribe of scarred, breastless and one breasted women. It is a high time we start accepting SCARRED women are just as beautiful since 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. This new tribe inspired by David is growing and will at some point in future became the norm, just the same way we no longer see pregnant women as unattractive. This exposure will help women to accept what we might not be able to change. Perhaps fashion designers will soon start making bras for women with one breast and accept them as “normal.” What if not having breasts or having one breast became acceptable? What if mastectomies and scarred breast are seen as a symbol of honor and strength? What if the society could tone down the breast obsession with breasts just a little bit and appreciate David work on SCAR project for pioneering the new “normal” for breast cancer fighters and survivors?

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Please check out the SCAR Project at for more photos and information.