In Malaysia, breast cancer tends to affect every 1 in 19 women and is the second leading cancer death in the world, next to lung cancer. It is when cells in the milk-producing glands grow abnormal or multiply uncontrollably. Sometimes a lump formation may be non-cancerous, sometimes it is. Either way, any abnormalities you may encounter warrants a visit to the doctor. To commence Breast Cancer Awareness month, Motherhood Story brings you an honorary member of the Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA), Ms Liew Swee Lee. Currently Secretary for the BCWA, Ms Swee Lee is here today to share with us her journey throughout her battle with breast cancer. Let's hear from her on what kept her going and how life is today as the survivor she is. Image credit: Ms Liew Swee Lee Without further deliberation, let's get right into it! #1 Hi Ms. Swee Lee, thank you again for chatting with Motherhood Story today. Please, tell us about yourself. How are you today? I am Swee Lee, a 10-year breast cancer survivor. I feel great now, especially in the month of October where lots of people will dress in pink, with pink ribbons everywhere. This is a month where we raise efforts educating people about breast cancer and creating public awareness.\u00a0 #2 Life must have taken a turn for drastic changes and revelations throughout your ordeal. Can you walk us through your journey and share on your diagnosis? Like many other women, in my early 30\u2019s, I wished to build a good career and start a family. However, half a year into my marriage, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It's been an uneasy journey from the very start of being a patient receiving treatment, to recovery and living life today as a survivor.\u00a0 Image credit: Motherhood Story \u00a0 #3 When did you realise you needed a check-up and what were the symptoms you were experiencing? I found a lump in my breast and it was quite a big one although there was no pain. It was still there after a month and that was when I realised something was wrong. \u00a0I went to see a gynecologist first. Then, I was referred to a breast surgeon for further investigation. After an ultrasound, the doctor commented it might be non-cancerous and advised I could opt to have surgery for lump removal or to do frequent monitoring.\u00a0Thanks to my\u00a0sikap takut mati,\u00a0I requested to have surgery as early as possible. It was after the surgery when the doctor shared with me the bad news. #4 What treatments did you receive and for how long?\u00a0 The cancer was caught early enough with high grade and it did not spread to other parts of my body.\u00a0After surgery (Lumpectomy), I started with the chemotherapy treatment followed by radiation; the treatment journey took almost 8 months. #5 What was the most difficult part of your journey and how did you overcome it? Image credit: Canva During treatment, I was undergoing chemotherapy. The side effects grew greater as I had more cycles and there was a time where I had breathing difficulties. My mother was there to care for me and as I looked into her eyes, I saw worry and sadness. That was the moment I told myself that I must live, as I don't ever want to see her tears again. #6 What is the one thing you wish you knew before you started treatment and what helped you pull through?\u00a0 The medical and treatment costs. I did not wish to burden my family members. Luckily, my medical insurance was able to settle major parts of the bills, enabling me to concentrate solely on receiving treatment.\u00a0 #7 How long have you been involved with the Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BWCA) Malaysia and how has your journey been so far?\u00a0 I have been involved with BWCA since 2017. I'm glad that I had stepped out to share my story after 6 years of silence. I am now doing exactly what BCWA volunteers did for me at the time when I was lying in the hospital. They gave me support and guidance. I started with joining as a member, then volunteered to be part of the team in giving emotional support and public sharing. Now, I am the honorary secretary of the association.\u00a0 Image credit: BCWA Malaysia #8 What is your best takeaway from taking on a role with BWCA Malaysia?\u00a0 Living a more meaningful life. I came to realise there is a lot I can offer. From sharing my experience to giving emotional support, not only to the patients but also to their family members. I'm also indirectly creating awareness which makes me feel great and energetic.\u00a0 #9 What advice can you share with others who may be fighting this disease?\u00a0 Please use the strongest weapon that you have\u2014your mindset. If you set it right, you will make it. And do remember you are not alone. There are many of us out there ready and willing to walk you through your journey. #10 Lastly, please share some words as a survivor with our readers to spread breast cancer awareness. Please do your routine check-ups. This includes breast self-examinations (BSE) by yourself, and through clinical checking at the hospital. We are all responsible for our own health. Early detection and early treatment are the keys to winning the cancer battle! Cancer Doesn't Always Have to Mean a Death Sentence Image credit: Motherhood Story Ms. Swee Lee's story is a reminder of the strength and bravery that entails in fighting this pervasive form of cancer. It is also a solid reminder that any abnormalities found in or on your body deserve a consultation with your GP. When it comes to cancer, being health-conscious is always a life-saving trait. So, if you or someone you know notices a rogue lump under their skin, painless or not, it is most definitely a call for action. For many more insightful stories or fun recipes, stay tuned to Motherhood Story!