Being a warrior

by | June 4, 2024

A breast survivor shares tips for other women going through similar experiences.


Linda Tam.

It was only at the age of 49 that Linda Tam realised that she had not done a mammogram. She was volunteering at the time as a receptionist at non-profit Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF) and was fielding mammogram-related queries daily. Questions like when and how one should get a mammogram done. She decided to go for one and is she glad she did.

“I’m very grateful to have worked at BCF, otherwise I wouldn’t have had the knowledge and awareness to get a mammogram done in the first place,” said the mother of one, who is currently 66 years old and was working previously in the banking industry in Sydney and Hong Kong.

When she went for the mammogram, the doctor discovered she had stage 1 breast cancer and opted for aggressive treatment because of her age. She went through a lumpectomy, a surgical removal a tumour in the breast, as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Sharing her lessons from her experience: “I think my biggest lesson so far has been to focus on what truly matters to me. This includes family and friends, and I’m trying to let go of my trivial concerns. I’m also trying to do my part to let people know that being diagnosed with breast cancer is not a death sentence. There is hope and life goes on, if one chooses to live it to the fullest.”

Linda added: “I think my breast cancer diagnosis was a huge wake-up call for me, and now I’m living my life to the fullest. I’m trying to do all the things that I’ve always wanted to such as picking up Latin dancing, because you only live once.” She even participated in BCF’s Courage Catwalk event, an example of pushing her boundaries and trying new things as she had never done a catwalk before. She was among 10 breast cancer survivors who took to the catwalk.

Other advice she would like to offer other women going to similar experiences:

  1. You are not alone – “I want them to know that they are not alone in this journey. I encourage them to reach out for support from loved ones, friends and their healthcare team. When you surround yourself with people who listen to you, stand by your side and make you feel good about yourself, things aren’t as hard as they seem.”
  2. Feel every emotion – “They should allow themselves to feel every emotion – fear, uncertainty, anger and even moments of joy. It’s important to express our feelings openly and this itself is a powerful form of self-care.”
  3. Hold on to hope – “Above all, I encourage them to hold on to hope. There are countless stories of resilience, courage and triumph among breast cancer survivors, locally and globally. Their journey may have ups and downs but every step forward, no matter how small, is a victory worth celebrating. I think that’s why we call ourselves ‘warriors’. We are stronger than we think we are, and we have an army of supporters cheering us on.”




1 Comment

  1. Anthony Flores

    That’s the way to go, stay positive it’s not the end of the world if one is diagnosed with breast cancer. Enjoy life, with treatment and all the love and support one will go a long way. I’m sure many people facing a same predicament will find Ms. Tam’s story and her approach to life very interesting and inspiring. Most times people are busy with work and tend to forget their own health or only start to pay attention when they feel unwell. I applaud Ms. Tam for sharing her journey


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