Catholic, Buddhist nuns in Vietnam partner to help people with cancer

Catholics and Buddhists in Thua Thien Hue province attend a May workshop on cancer prevention. (GSR/Peter Nguyen)

Hue, Vietnam — In the past Sr. Mary Nguyen Thi Van, a breast cancer survivor, found it hard to share her experience of cancer prevention with others since she had no understanding of it.

As a nun, she was reluctant to tell other people that breast cancer is considered a bad omen among women.

However, the Saint Paul de Chartres nun has changed her mind after she attended a recent cancer workshop joined by 40 Catholic sisters, Buddhist nuns and female volunteers.

During the first-ever such workshop held on May 7 in Hue City, Van, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, told participants, "At first I did not dare to tell other nuns about my disease, although I had a burning pain in my chest and was extremely afraid to get hospital treatment and die of the cancer." After receiving encouragement from her superior, she was diagnosed and her left breast was removed at the hospital, where she spent five months recovering.

The 47-year-old said doctors cured her of cancer because it was discovered at an early stage.

Van, who is now healthy, urged participants to bravely face the risk of breast cancer and get medical treatment for it immediately rather than hide it.

Read the full story at Global Sisters Report.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here