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17-year-old Nabanita Mandal, who waged war against Haematological Cancer - GetBengal story

3 February, 2024 19:31:24
17-year-old Nabanita Mandal, who waged war against Haematological Cancer - GetBengal story

Nabanita Mandal, a resident of East Midnapore was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 when she was only 17 years old. It was the deadly Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a kind of Haematological Cancer. It seemed the world had come to an end even before it bloomed. But Nabanita did not bow down to the great C, rather her fight against cancer started early in life and along with that, she went to different villages of West Bengal creating cancer awareness. Once she was out of her chemotherapy sessions, she went to the villagers telling them her tale of resilience, and how she fought the deadly disease. Many were inspired by her real-life story. In her own life, Nabanita has experienced how cancer robs you of the various shades of life, how friends move away, and how you become alone in the world that comprises your journey between hospitals and chemotherapy sessions.

Nabanita told GB: “There was a time when rural people thought cancer was a communicable disease. I started telling them it was not, I made not just the cancer patient aware of the disease but also the family. To fight cancer, one needs not just medication, but immense mental support and strength. So, I emphasized how cancer patients can be mentally supported by their own family.” Nabanita completed her studies in Botany and then did her Masters in Medical Social Work. “When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was young and did not understand the reality. While pursuing my career and studies, I suffered immense physical pain. Not that I received support and compassion from all. In the beginning, due to chemotherapy, I had hair fall and not everyone was empathetic to my condition. That made me think I needed to do some work on cancer.”


Today Nabanita has won over the disease and she is a cancer survivor. She is also researching on cancer, how to stop it at the early stages as well as various treatment procedures for cancer patients. She said: “Cervical and breast cancers in women can be handled by early detection through some routine tests. Hence awareness is very important. May be if I make 10 people aware, only one of them will understand. There will be still many who will have a wrong notion about the disease.”

She has been awarded for her work by the USA’s World Conference on Lung Cancer and the European School of Oncology. She has given talks on cancer treatment across the globe in more than 15 nations and has inspired many. Though she got a chance for higher studies at Kings College London, due to the COVID-19 pandemic she could not attend. Today, the plethora of work she does is phenomenal, she has to speak to several cancer patients. As per 25-year-old Nabanita, “Even if you have the slightest of health issues, do visit a doctor. Even in villages, there are healthcare centres and rural hospitals, one needs to go there.”

For more than four years she has suffered the worst and now she feels she has started life’s 2nd innings. “I want to do something to help the people as a researcher with Chittaranjan Cancer Research Institute. At times I myself is surprised as to how I could overcome this difficult path.” Not just one day, every day is important for creating awareness about cancer and Nabanita is doing exactly that. 

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