'It’s not easy for me losing my breast, but I know there is no other option and I’m ready to take it head on.'

In the summer of 2019, 34-year-old Prab Brar noticed a small, uncomfortable lump on her breast, and in July 2019 she was admitted to A&E for severe stomach pain. She was referred to the Mater Hospital for a triple assessment and she remembers receiving the shocking news that she had invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer. Prab says, “When I heard that news, everything went dark. I really wasn’t expecting them to say that. I had no family history of cancer so it was such a huge shock for me."

Prab, who is from India and lives in Maynooth, admits she felt scared at the prospect of treatment. As she has no extended family in Ireland, she decided to go to India to receive treatment, so that she would have her family’s support to look after her two children, while her husband stayed in Ireland for work.

Prab underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a lumpectomy, then returned to Dublin in 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Her medical team in Dublin recommended she undergo a complete mastectomy to avoid any future risks.

“I had my mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in July 21. Unfortunately three weeks after surgery I was admitted to hospital due to a severe infection and had to undergo implant removal surgery, which didn’t go as planned. I am traumatised after surgery but I still choose my faith over fears.” She says.

Prab has another surgery coming up soon and is currently accessing counselling to help her cope with the emotional impact of her cancer experience.

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“Cancer took a lot more than I expected emotionally, physically and financially as well. It all affects you and stays with you. I am currently doing sessions with psychologist to overcome my recent surgery. Along with the physical loss, the emotional roller coaster is a lot.”
Prab Brar

"I have tried my best to deal with my diagnosis positively and put on a happy face, but that hasn’t always been easy. I was really outgoing before, but after my diagnosis, I lost my job and I have found the whole process really difficult.”

Prab contacted the Irish Cancer Society Support Line to access additional support to help in her recovery from cancer.

Her words of advice to everyone is to listen to your body and to “do self-checks regularly and visit your GP once you notice anything, attend your mammograms and if you are diagnosed with an illness, please speak up for yourself."

Finally, Prab tells how she couldn’t have gotten through her cancer treatment without the incredible support of her loved ones.

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"My family and friends are the strength that get me through the bad times, they are the most important people in my life. Please if you have or you know anyone who is diagnosed with cancer offer them an ear and give them a hug.”
Prab Brar
Viola O' Donovan
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