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Anna’s Story of Hope and Healing

Breast Cancer
At 43, Anna Velichko lost all of her family to cancer, which is why she has been undergoing regular screenings every six months since she turned 38. Sadly, a mammogram revealed she had breast cancer.

Originally from Siberia, Russia, Anna was living with her husband and their now 13-year-old son in Madagascar, where her husband works. She loves sports and frequently goes to the gym. When Anna’s brother was diagnosed with advanced cancer, they immediately returned to Russia, as she wanted to be close to him. Anna remained by his side for the next five years, during which she lost her father to cancer, and, eventually, her brother. 

Having lost many family members to cancer, and carrying the BRCA1 gene, Anna has been undergoing regular tests every six months since she turned 38. When one of the mammograms detected cancer in her left breast, she was shocked. After all of her painful experiences, she never imagined it would happen to her. 

“When I sent my husband a message informing him of the diagnosis, he called and cried,” she recalls. “My friends tried to support and encourage me. I was confident it was still in its early stages and could be treated, which meant I would live. However, a week later, a test showed the cancer was not in its early stages.”

In the wake of this diagnosis, and until this very day, Anna refuses to learn what type of cancer she has. The one thing Anna did know was that she would seek treatment abroad, and she chose Sheba at the suggestion of a friend.

Within two weeks of her diagnosis, Anna began treatment at Sheba. “I’m happy to be here. Since I now understand that Sheba is the best in the world. I know I will die as an old woman.” Today, Anna is undergoing her second round of chemotherapy at Sheba, and says she feels well, even maintaining her exercise routine during treatments. “This has a lot to do with my medical coordinator, Vera. We are no longer simply a patient and coordinator, but close friends.”

“I remember losing my mother to cancer. I think it made me the strong person I am,” Anna says with admirable positivity. What I would like to say to those suffering from cancer worldwide is to look after themselves and check regularly, because if you identify the problem early and come to the right place, like Sheba, your worries can be put to rest. Stay positive and find the right place.”

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