Care For Your Pair - Shampa's story
'I was determined not to let cancer beat me. I kept a positive attitude throughout my treatment.'
Having spent the best part of her legal career fighting the good fight, Shampa Lahiri had no idea how useful these skills would prove when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019. “I was determined not to let cancer beat me. I kept a positive attitude throughout my treatment, and with the help of my amazing husband, family and friends I am now cancer free.”
However, what Shampa didn’t realise, and what many people are completely oblivious too, is the hidden financial and logistical challenges which come with a cancer diagnosis.
“I am a lawyer for an insurance company, and yet I struggled with the paperwork! I also had a really tough time understanding my own insurance cover because we don’t pay attention to chronic illness until we are struck down by it. I was very lucky that I had work colleagues who helped me translate things I simply could not understand.”
Using her skills to advocate for better patient outcomes is now something Shampa feels very strongly about.
"The use of debt collectors by hospitals is heartless, and unfair charges such as cumulative in patient fees and excessive hospital car parking fees need to change. And just because something is hard to change doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.”
Shampa was inspired by her breast cancer experience to join the Irish Cancer Society’s Advocacy Network as the Advocacy Champion in her local constituency of Dublin Rathdown. She plans on using her skills to engage with her local TDs to understand how and why structural inequalities arise in cancer care and will advocate for more equitable outcomes for cancer patients in the Irish public health system.
Learn more about breast health and about how you can support breast cancer patients this October.
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