RAMTHA — Although she is 40 years old, Huda, a Syrian refugee, had never heard of “breast cancer” until she was diagnosed with the disease in Jordan.
The mother of nine told The Jordan Times in a recent interview that since her arrival in Jordan, she has had access to information on reproductive health that was unavailable to her in Syria.
Huda has pledged to beat the cancer and stay strong for her children.
The Syrian mother was three months pregnant when she fled the war raging in her homeland five months ago, seeking refuge in the Kingdom with seven of her children. Her eldest son and her husband decided to stay in Syria.
From Baba Amr to Sayedah Zeinab Mosque then to Tal Shehab, Huda’s family managed to arrive in Jordan where they spent some time in the Bashabsheh Complex in Ramtha before moving to the Cyber City Complex, two venues prepared to receive some of the more than 200,000 Syrian who have sought a safe haven in Jordan.
Early in August, when the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) clinic was set up in Cyber City, Huda, who did not give her full name, went to see a doctor to check on her pregnancy.
Fathieh Ayyad, a midwife working at the UNFPA clinic checked on Huda’s pregnancy. Ayyad said she suspected the Syrian mother had breast cancer when she said she felt a mass in her breast.
“When I examined the mass, I immediately referred her to King Abdullah I University Hospital, because I thought she might have cancer,” Ayyad said.
Being pregnant and suspected of having breast cancer is not easy, as the mother should undergo Caesarian surgery to proceed with medication immediately, according to Ayyad.
“There is no education in my hometown about breast cancer and its symptoms,” explained Huda, who said she felt the mass before coming to Jordan.
The Caesarian was successful and Huda gave birth after eight months of pregnancy to baby girl Yasmeen.
Cuddling her baby while waiting at the UNFPA clinic, Huda said she is ready to undergo any medication that would save her life to take care of her children.
“Without Ayyad’s diagnosis, I would have never heard of breast cancer,” Huda said.
She told The Jordan Times that she married a man with a hearing and speech disability at the age of 18 and was not aware of any family planning means, giving birth to her children one after another without taking care of her health.
“I wish I had heard about these means before. I only heard about them from UNFPA educators,” the 40-year-old mother noted, adding that she lost most of her teeth and looks older than her real age due to “not paying attention” to her food.
According to the result of her cancer scan, which was issued after her interview with The Jordan Times, Huda will have to undergo a mastectomy.