Nagima Plokhikh, Kazakhstan

Nagima Plokhikh
Nagima Plokhikh

Nagima Plokhikh is a two time breast cancer survivor from Kazakhstan.  When Nagima was first diagnosed with breast cancer she knew little of the disease and was not scared.  However, after a second diagnosis of stage III breast cancer, Nagima learned how deadly this cancer can be.  She found herself surrounded by similar Kazakh women who lacked information and realized they were all frightened, depressed and alone.  Nagima vowed to make a change.

“I took the situation as a challenge and made a personal goal—to learn everything about breast cancer and to tell women about this disease to help them fight.”

Today, Nagima is the president of Healthy Asia, a breast cancer advocacy foundation that supports women with breast cancer and has been educating women around Asia about the disease for the past ten years. Nagima also organized a breast cancer outreach program that brings mobile health services to small villages and towns in the most remote areas of Kazakhstan.  Nagima supports the regional breast cancer movement, Pink Silk Road, and travels in Central Asia and Eurasia frequently to share her experience and empower other women.

When a person knows and understands her problem and what she has to fight, she is able to mobilize all her forces.

- Nagima Plokhikh

In her own words

My name is Nagima Plokhikh and I am a breast cancer survivor.  Today, to talk about myself means to talk about my fight against breast cancer.  I fought when I was diagnosed and I am still fighting today to help other women.

My second diagnosis of breast cancer was such a shock.  I was not ready.  Here I was once again on the brink, and I still felt as though I knew nothing about the disease.  My husband cried, trying to hide his face from me, and I cried, unable to hide it from anyone.  Then I thought, if I was able to get away from the edge of the abyss before, then I can do it again.  The day I left the hospital after my second diagnosis of breast cancer, I made a decision—to devote my life to women who became ill with breast cancer.

My fight was hard, but I tried not to lose heart, saying to myself, “Tomorrow will be better,” and believing it.  It is important for women to know that breast cancer is not a death sentence.  I am opposed to doctors hiding the diagnosis from the patient, which used to happen in my country and many others.  When a person knows and understands her problem and what she has to fight, she is able to mobilize all her forces.  To help women fight, I started the foundation Healthy Asia.  For ten years we have been conducting breast cancer screenings in remote areas of the country, training women in breast cancer prevention, providing psychological services to patients and their families and giving legal advice.  The greatest achievement of the fund is breast cancer awareness day, which is held annually in Kazakhstan on October 21st.

I dream everyday about the possibility that no woman in the world will die of breast cancer.  I want to convey to each woman that we should love ourselves, respect and preserve ourselves and, most importantly, monitor our health and the health of the breast.  My mission and the mission of Healthy Asia is to protect Asian women from breast cancer, to give them the experience of victory, a helping hand and friendship.  To tell each of them, ‘Do not be afraid, I am with you.’

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