"Fuck cancer", the Mexican initiative to empower women without breasts

Sandra Monrroy plays with her pets on July 4, 2021, in Mexico City, a day before she underwent a bilateral mastectomy due to her breast cancer.  EFE / Sáshenka Gutiérrez
Sandra Monrroy plays with her pets on July 4, 2021, in Mexico City, a day before she underwent a bilateral mastectomy due to her breast cancer. EFE / Sáshenka Gutiérrez

Mexico City, Oct 14 (EFE) .- When Mexican Sandra Monroy was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 36, she felt that the world was falling apart. However, she faced the disease and after a bilateral mastectomy that saved her life, she chose not to reconstruct her breasts and to promote an accompaniment network through her “Fuck you cancer” initiative.
Sandra is a breast cancer survivor who lost her breasts due to the disease, which was detected in early 2021. “(The diagnosis) I think was one of the most difficult moments there is. It hit me like a blow,” confesses this Thursday to Efe.
Sandra remembers those days in the offices of the Breast Cancer Foundation (Fucam), where she went for care because she did not have a social security service.
I was afraid. She did not expect that, at 36, breast cancer would appear in her life. “The first myth is that for being young it is not going to give you and it does,” says Sandra, a photographer by profession.
In the midst of the bad news, a glimmer of light came. “They come back to you again when they tell you: you arrived on time, it is a stage 1”, that is, an initial phase.
This was a relief, especially because in Mexico, according to Alejandra de Cima, president of the Cima Foundation, which works against breast cancer, more than 80% of women arrive in stages 3 or 4.
“When the cancer is very advanced and there is little left to do,” he explains to Efe.
According to the World Cancer Observatory (Globocan), the incidence of breast cancer in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2020 was 210,100 new cases, and 57,984 deaths were registered.
De Cima points out that in Mexico 18 women die daily due to breast cancer and only last year 29,929 new cases were registered, in addition to the fact that for 15 years it became the leading cause of death from malignant tumors in Mexican women.
After the diagnosis, the doctor explained to Sandra that a double mastectomy was necessary. That is, they were going to remove both breasts, since although the cancer was only in the right breast, if the left breast was kept, the possibility that the disease would return was between 50 and 60%.
But they also told her that when they removed her breasts they could rebuild them and, since they were both, “leave them couples (the same).”
But that implied at least two operations in the next three years, plus one more if he opted for nipple reconstruction and that procedure would have to be repeated at least every 10 years to change the implants.
And that, if the implants worked properly.
“I thought: I don’t want to experiment if implants are going well or not,” he recalls.
In addition, he thought that this was losing the notion of what cancer is and is. “All the energy is in the aesthetic and the oncological is forgotten,” he says.
She then had to “assume that part that my breasts were going to go away and they weren’t going to come back,” and she chose not to rebuild her breasts. Chose to stay “flat”.
“My breasts left on July 5 at noon. I thanked them deeply because the cancer could be in that part of the body and could be removed, my story in my case with cancer was short,” he celebrates.
Sandra is part of a new stream of breast cancer survivors who undergo some form of mastectomy and choose not to have breast reconstruction.
“I still do not understand that equation of why we would have to live a disease like this and put ourselves at risk as a way that is not going to be for us because we are not going to feel it,” she points out.
She acknowledges that there are many women who dream of reconstructing their breasts “and there will be those who do not.”
Therefore, he raises his voice for those who choose to stay flat and today proudly shows the scars that were left on his chest.
Sandra focused on building a network of awareness and support for prevention, but also support.
In his Instagram account “Fuck you Cancer” he shares his process and, in addition to accompanying, seeks to empower women “to teach them that there are more options than they give us.”
Without realizing it, she has become an activist and in the future finds herself supporting more women and passing on what cancer has taught her so far.
“Far from making me complex, this circumstance shielded me to openly show me my scars and say that nothing is missing here,” he concludes.

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