Actress Manisha Koirala, who announced last week that she is now free of cancer, said she intends to use her celebrity status and personal story to inspire others who are battling the dreaded disease.
"All I want to do from now onwards is to be useful to people who could need [a] little advice," she told The American Bazaar in her first interview since undergoing cancer treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center here. (Click here for the link)
Koirala, 42, revealed that she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last November. After months of treatment, which included chemotherapy, the Kathmandu-born star wrote on her Facebook page, last Tuesday, that she had successfully battled the disease.
"Cancer came as a hurricane unannounced," the actress said, adding that she and her family "had no clue how to cope or deal with" it at the time of diagnosis. But being a celebrity helped as "people reached out with lot of information," she said.
Koirala stressed the importance of staying positive and having a support system. "Cancer is more about the fear factor than anything else, it's necessary to consult and reach out," she said. "It is a harrowing experience for caregivers too but friendships and family-bonding get strengthened in adversity. It gets easy when one knows one is loved and is taken care of."
Koirala told The American Bazaar that she "did fairly well thanks to the love and care of my family and friends, fans the world over and the divine." She also thanked the doctors of Sloan Kettering. "I am grateful to my wonderful surgeon and oncologist.
The Bollywood star's message is real simple: one must eat healthy, exercise and stay stress-free. "I intend to have more of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans," she said.
Koirala also has another advice to those with a history of illness in the family: "I can only wish that everyone pays attention to the body, get regular checkups and get active, especially, if there has been history of cancer in the family."
Koirala also spoke about Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie's recent decision to undergo double mastectomy to reduce breast cancer risks. Women "must not feel less feminine by removing breasts or ovaries," she said, adding "It is not in the body and its organs but in our heart and soul that femininity lives."
The Nepali-Indian star praised Jolie's partner, fellow Hollywood actor Brad Pitt, for standing by her. "It is important for a partner to be supportive. This separates the men from the boys. There is no need to live under the shadow of fear and one should aspire for quality of life. There is just no question of pros and cons when it's a matter of peaceful, healthy life." (Global India Newswire)