Published: 31st May 2018
World No Tobacco Day: How tobacco and cancer is tearing this family's life apart
Sathish's wife didn't realise that her husband was addicted to tobacco, she didn't know that it could lead to cancer either till she had to find out on her own
Sathish K* and his wife Priya* met when the former was working for Priya's father, they were both only teenagers then but fell in love instantly. When Priya's father passed away, her mother took over his job and when she heard about the two, she got them married. "It was a love marriage and we were both very young but my mother wanted me to get married early and so we did," Priya says blushing.
The couple has two daughters, one is in the sixth standard and the other is in the tenth standard. Everything was going well for the Chennai-based family until last year when Sathish was diagnosed with third stage lung cancer. "A few years after we got married, he started to chew tobacco and would also smoke cigarettes now or then. I never knew about it, he would only do it outside the house. Only after he got diagnosed I realised how badly it had affected him." she said.
The couple decided to see a doctor after Sathish suddenly refused to eat, "They did a long list of tests and then told us that he had cancer. We immediately started treatment and after several rounds of chemotherapy, the doctors said he had been cured. but then it came back," she explained. Now the 35-year-old is admitted at Apollo hospital in Chennai and is going through chemotherapy again,"I never really knew about tobacco or that it causes cancer. I've seen a few advertisements on TV but that's about it. I had no idea, it was all new to me," the wife said.
The first time around, Priya was sure her husband would beat the disease, this time she's confident as well, "I know he'll be fine. He's going through treatment so he'll be okay, I'm sure he will," Priya says with a smile proving that she's truly positive about the outcome. When asked if the cancer has affected their family, she says it has but doesn't dwell on it too much, "With the girls it is difficult, I also don't work so we are reliant on him. But we have to do what we have to do, so it's fine," she adds.
Sathish's doctor tells us that he is in the advanced stage of cancer, "He's been chewing tobacco for years, which is extremely dangerous to the human body. His first tumour was cured with chemotherapy but the tumour has returned and this one is not operable," she explained. And she has worse news,"There are very slim chances of survival since it is very advanced." Like she didn't know about his tobacco habits, Priya doesn't seem to know about the advancement of the cancer too but she holds on to hope and she gets by with it.
*names changed to protect identity