Wed, Jan 03, 2018 - Page 13 News List

Amputated, then spurned

Algerian breast cancer survivors are often shunned as ‘half-women,’ with hundreds abandoned by their husbands

AFP, Algiers

Around 3,500 Algerian women die of the disease a year, Cherbal says.

Leila Houti, an epidemiologist and lecturer at the University of Oran’s medicine faculty, said breast cancer was often diagnosed too late.

Among the survivors who have become single, some despair of ever finding a life partner again.

“Who will want a woman like me?” asked Safia, a 32-year-old who has lost 10kg in a year due to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

But life is beginning to improve for others.

Saida, the doctor, won custody of her son.

Five years after her operation, Hayat, the student, is healing after therapy, breast reconstruction abroad and the support of friends and family.

And Linda, shunned by her husband for being a “half-woman,” is in remission and doing well with her children’s support. With hindsight, she said, cancer actually freed her of a man who beat her and stole her salary.

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