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Kseniya Pankratova

‘If cancer knocks on your door, do not hide your head in the sand. Cancer should and can be fought!’

Kseniya Pankratova was 33 when she found a lump in her breast. She visited a doctor who confirmed her worst fears and diagnosed breast cancer. He said that treatment should be started as soon as possible – the tumour was growing rapidly. As part of the project #RAKNEVYROK, Kseniya shared her story how she managed to defeat the disease and what helped her in the fight for her life.

This was in 2012. Summer was just beginning. It was in June. I accidentally found a lump in my breast. I immediately thought about cancer and made an appointment with a mammologist. The doctor said that it was breast cancer. Second stage. Having heard these words, I became very scared. Accepting the disease was incredibly difficult. It is still difficult for me, although nine years have passed, to get used to this idea that my life could have been cut short...

I was then a homemaker raising two children, one of whom needed constant medical care. There was a catastrophic lack of money for my treatment. Quite unexpectedly, some people completely unknown to me – those whom I had never even seen before – began to support me.

My family also turned to the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation for help and the Foundation covered the cost of two courses of chemotherapy for me. It was a significant help. I am very thankful to the Foundation.

The disease was progressing rapidly and the treatment was very difficult. I would not have survived all this if it were not for the constant support from my husband and sister, my mum and dad, friends and strangers, a lot of whom suddenly appeared in my life.

Cancer changed me, changed my attitude to life, to myself, and to my health. You begin to appreciate many things, value a lot; first of all, things you took for granted before.

I have learned to enjoy little things. Photography, which I became interested in just during the period of the disease, helped me notice them. At first, I photographed everything in sight, looking for my own genre. Eventually, I pitched upon sports dancing. I found beauty and emotions in it. This hobby helped me a lot.

I have been healthy for eight years now. I work as a sports photographer. And I always help those people who have just learned about their disease. I know how important it is not to give up, not to hide your head in the sand. If cancer has knocked on your door, you need to fight it. Think positive. Cancer is not a death sentence.