Hamzah, with superior care from his wife Noorbani, overcame breast cancer together
In 2017, it was reported in Malaysia that one out of every 100 breast cancer patients is a man. Diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 52, Hamzah was accompanied by his wife, Noorbani. Sitting next to his burly frame, she was a petite lady. She may seem tiny but we soon discovered she was the rock during Hamzah’s turbulent battle with cancer. In her hands was a thick folder – an A to Z compilation of every doctor’s note to the date of every event. “I have to constantly carry this folder with me – the documents in here will come in handy in case we need to go to a hospital and meet a doctor,” she smiles.
“Early 2018, my husband mentioned that something felt amiss with his nipple. You must know, he was born with an inverted nipple. However, I saw that the nipple had curved inwards even more than before. It never registered to me then that it could be cancer,” said Noorbani. Taking caution, they went to Hospital Shah Alam where he underwent an ultrasound.
The results came out – BI RAD 4A, which means low suspicion of malignancy. The doctor who attended to their case however told them that it was definitely cancer. The doctor proceeded with a biopsy and the results confirmed that it was so. “The doctor told us that Hamzah was his first male breast cancer patient in Hospital Shah Alam and he wanted to proceed with the surgery as soon as possible. They carried out the operation on April 11 – it was a three and half hour surgery. Right as they were wheeling him out, I could already hear him joking with the nurses. I turned to my daughter and told her, your dad is definitely back.” Hamzah had undergo a mastectomy, a surgery done to remove all breast tissue from his breast. Three of his lymph nodes were confirmed cancerous and he was at stage 2.
Round two: Pulmonary Embolism
“When we went back to the hospital for a CT scan later on, the doctor then discovered that he was suffering from pulmonary embolism (PE).” Pulmonary embolism is when a clump of material, most often a blood clot, gets wedged into an artery in your lungs. Hamzah had to be admitted in the hospital again, this time for 13 days. “It was definitely a difficult thing to go through, having to go back into the hospital after my surgery. But we both know that we needed everything to help overcome this disease,” Hamzah expresses.
“During the first three chemotherapy sessions, Hamzah had no issues – he could drive back and he kept on nagging me because he wanted to go back to work. The issues popped up during the fourth chemo. His appetite decreased, he went through bouts of mood swings weight loss, and high fever,” laments Noorbani. A blood test revealed that Hamzah’s white blood cell count took a massive drop to zero. His fifth chemotherapy session resulted in another round of fever and constipation. Chemotherapy kills fast-dividing cancer cells. But it could also kill some fast dividing normal cells in the body, like those in the bone marrow that maintain the supply of white blood cells. White blood cells are produced by your bone marrow to help your body fight infection. “He woke up in the middle of the night due to his constipation issues. When he returned to the room, he crashed – his head hitting the edge of the bed. Unconscious, there was a deep cut on his eyebrow. At four o’clock in the morning, I called a taxi and he had to be x-rayed and had nine stitches to his head. His white blood cell once again took a fall and had to be admitted for a whole week. He had to celebrate his 52 birthday in the hospital,” recalls Noorbani. During his sixth chemotherapy, Hamzah’s white blood cell count took a fall for the third time. He also had to undergo 15 sessions of radiotherapy.
Climbing up to the top
“After multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, I went for my CT Tap scan and the results came out excellent. My pulmonary embolism went away,” said Hamzah.
The couple was both happy to know that as of now, Hamzah’s health has been renewed. In light of Hamzah’s breast cancer, the couple have recently carried out genetic testing to ensure safety of their kids and family. — The Health
The doctor told us that Hamzah was his first male breast cancer patient in Hospital Shah Alam and he wanted to proceed with the surgery as soon as possible.
They carried out the operation on April 11 – it was a three and half hour surgery.” – Noorbani Yes, men can get breast cancer too!
When you think of breast cancer, the first thing that comes to mind is that it occurs in women. We proudly march with our pink ribbons in the month of October.
But did you know that there’s also a ribbon designed for male breast cancer awareness? It’s a pink and blue ribbon.
Many people do not realize that men have breast tissue and that they can develop breast cancer. The major problem is that breast cancer in men is often diagnosed later than breast cancer in women. This may be because men are less likely to be suspicious of something strange in that area.
It’s not yet entirely clear what causes male breast cancer. There is evidence that mutations in certain genes inherited from one’s parents could increase the risk. Like women, men can have early warning signs of breast cancer. It could be a lump or thickening in their breast tissue, or a nipple that begins to turn inward. Sometimes the nipple becomes inflamed and secretes a clear or bloody discharge.
Get yourself checked today!