On World Cancer Day (4 February), Firstpost spoke to Lisa Ray about her prolonged fight with multiple myeloma and how she is winning the battle against cancer. The actress came to India from Hong Kong in January and travelled across the country to promote cancer awareness: talking to hospitals and trusts to raise funds to help research and cancer patients' treatment. One of the things she noticed was that patients don't share their diagnosis even with families and friends. There is a need to spread awareness about the disease and society needs to be more open about discussing cancer, according to Ray.
Lisa Ray is in Mumbai, promoting her upcoming film Ishq Forever, but on World Cancer Day, she takes time to talk about a cause close to her heart: cancer awareness.
She is very clear right from the start that her battle is a continuous one: multiple myeloma is an "officially incurable" disease. She is on maintenance therapy, which basically means she is managing it with proper medication. That however hasn't stopped her from doing anything she loves. "I am doing fantastic! I am doing absolutely brilliant," she laughs.
There is no 'Why me?' complaint here.
"Cancer was an opportunity to slow down and make some significant changes in my life that I had been wanting to do anyway for a long time," she said. "It made me come face to face with certain fears and to overcome those fears and on top of that, it helped me to value my body, make significant changes in my life and to adopt a much healthier lifestyle as well."
On how she continues to stay positive, Lisa is quick to point out that telling cancer patients to "stay positive" is one of the most irritating things you could say.
Instead, "take your cues from the patient", she says. "Ask them about what they need. Because it's not about you, it's about them."