Manisha Koirala: Cancer helped me grow, appreciate life

Fighting ovarian cancer transformed actress Manisha Koirala in many ways and the actress says she has now grown to appreciate life.

Manisha Koirala
Manisha Koirala

The 45-year-old "Dil Se" star has been cancer free for last two years. She was diagnosed with it in 2012.

Manisha says she now understand the importance of life.

"I think cancer helps to transform a person... It affected me so much that it enabled me to grow, appreciate life and honour my body," Manisha said while addressing a session on "Cutting cancer down to size" on the sidelines of Times Litfest.

Manisha had no clue about the disease until she felt very weak and went to a hospital in Kathmandu with her brother.

"I was diagnosed with cancer in Kathmadu. I immediately flew down to India and got admitted in a prestigious hospital in Mumbai.

"Since the surgery looked very complicated, I then flew to the US for it. I did not face any problem there. Doctors in the US not only focus on the treatment part of it but also on psychological aspects. They are much ahead in taking care of a patient," she said.

The actress believes doctors do play an important role in treating a cancer patient.

"Initially, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I was very keen to talk to my doctors to know more about it. When you are a patient, then doctor gives you maximum assurance of your good health."

Though the disease brings a lot of stress to a family but it also helps them to bind them together.

"I did feel guilty of the kind of situation my family was going through because of me. Cancer helped to bring my family more close. Now, when we face any problem, we just go back to that time and take inspiration from it," she said.

Post her cancer struggle, the actress appeared in two films -- Ram Gopal Varma's "Bhoot Returns" and psychological thriller "Chehere: A Modern Day Classic" along with Jackie Shroff.

"I had been through a long period of introspection after the disease. I understood that I should always follow my heart and stick to the path which gives me joy and strength."

The panel, moderated by Harmala Gupta, also had AP Maheshwari, Congress MP Priya Dutt and Bhawna Sirohi.

Dutt, whose mother, actress Nargis, died of pancreatic cancer, recalled the difficult period and how her mother insisted on returning to India.

"The doctors in the US refused to operate on her because she had already gone through seven surgeries in two weeks. She had to go through another but the doctor said she will die on the operation table.

"Since she was not able to take any decision, we had to take the decision on her behalf. We all insisted that we wouldtake that chance. And she had the surgery and recovered through a point where she survived for nine months. She said that she wanted to go back to her own home and we brought her here."

Dutt said she is planning to build a bone marrow and a platelet registry in India.

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