This past month was a commemoration of the fatal disease known as breast cancer to which many people have sadly lost their lives. Like most sicknesses, breast cancer does not choose its victims. Just as there are celebrities in the western world who were diagnosed with breast cancer such as Angelina Jolie and Maggie Smith, there are quite a few Arab stars who have equivalently suffered as well. They endured the tedious and draining battle against the sickness and eventually defeated it due to their positivity and perseverance.
Here are some of those Middle Eastern heroes, that bravely fought and survived:
Basma Wahba – Egypt
At the age of 39, the renowned Egyptian television presenter and socialite was in Dubai to sign some business contracts when she sensed a strange lump in her chest while she was praying. Soon thereafter, a mammogram detected the tumor that would forever change her life.
According to Hayatouki’s website, “Wahba was told her cancer was related to her sorrow and she went on to receive a year of treatment and had one of her breasts removed”. She started her treatment in Paris and eventually emerged victorious. In 2013 she stated, “I try to stay strong because a patient is just like a wrestler; if he falls, his strength perishes.”
Elisa – Lebanon
Elissa began chemotherapy at one of Beirut’s hospitals after her discovery of the disease on December 26th, 2017. The popular star’s epic disclosure of her fight with breast cancer was by far one of the most memorable unveilings in history. She kept her struggle a secret and revealed the news to her fans through her new music project and video clip, Ela Kol Eli Beyheboni (To All Those Who Love Me), in 2018.
Through the emotional lyrics and visuals of the song, the Lebanese singer portrayed the story of her agonizing journey that concluded with a happy ending of triumph thanks to the support of her family, friends and loved ones who she thanked dearly.
Nidlal Alahmadieh, a Lebanese journalist, tweeted to Ellissa instantly, “The smartest Arab music video, the most moral and the most courageous. This is the message of a respectable artist.”
Zahra Al-Kharji – Kuwait
The valorous Kuwaiti actress is particularly known for shaving her head in solidarity with cancer patients in 2014. Nine years earlier, Al Kharji was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent treatment for two years in London. Throughout her struggles, she expressed her utmost love and gratitude for her husband, family, friends, and fans.
Manal Al-Siddiqi – Morocco
The stunning Moroccan actress was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. After a 5-year hiatus for treatments, Al-Siddiqi returned to the screen, stronger than ever, with Al Bahlawan (The Acrobat).
The Acrobat was a short film that depicted her personal journey to recovery. It was both written and performed by Al-Siddiqi herself. “I was like a factory that takes in negative energy to transform it into something positive,” she said. She explained that the positive outcomes include, “opening her eyes to new worlds and different people,” as well as creating Al Bahlawan.
Amal Dabbas – Jordan
Dabbas was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. She overcame the disease within three years, during which she underwent a mastectomy.
“Cancer is like everything that causes death, but it is not death,” The New Arab quotes her as saying, “Fear and surrender make the disease lethal.” The Jordanian actress and singer never succumbed to depression or despair and always maintained her positivity and optimism. She once described cancer as an “unwanted visitor” that made her value life and time, as well as reaffirm her faith in God.