SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English

QIAN Haiying “The start of my new life”

I made up my mind to start my new life in spring, in the cherry blossoms.

Then, what is the start of my new life? What is the difference from life up until now?


I am a 2022 Raccoon (Atsumi International Scholarship Student of the year 2022) and was scheduled to get master’s degree in March. A lot of 2022 Raccoon members started their new life in April and are working hard on their post-doctor course. Some of them got assistant professor jobs or regular teachers. However, I am working hard on my doctoral thesis, and there seems “no change”. You may think the words “the start of my new life” seem just a phrase of the new year.


Usually, I like sports other than studying and being conscious of building my physical strength.

COVID-19, I bought a cross bike and began cycling, and scarcely use electric cars now. The reason why I care about my physical strength is, I was taught stamina is important for researchers at crunch time. However, in February last year, I, as an outdoors, was told suddenly that an unexpected disease had been found.


At the Tokyo Medical University Hospital, I was diagnosed with “you are breast cancer stage 2B”. My primary care physician of the breast oncology department told me “You got malignant cancer”. When I was told his pathological diagnosis (identification of benign or malignant), I was calm and rational. The reason why I could consider the treatment plan together with my primary care physician calmly is that I increased my medical knowledge about breast cancer. Starting from confirmation of medical articles and thesis written by doctors of the breast oncology department of the Tokyo Medical University Hospital, I confirmed the latest treatment and clinical data of breast cancer by the National Cancer Center Hospital, the Peking University Tumor Hospital and the National (America) Center Institute. The more I confirmed, the less I fear breast cancer. It may be an unexpected harvest so that I could confirm the words “A fear comes from ignorance”.


However, it was tough psychologically as I had to wait for the result of a pathological diagnosis of the tumor. The more I examined breast cancer, the more I was convinced “I got cancer arguably”. It was just distressing for me. However, at the same time, I can hear a voice saying, “More than 90% of breast cancer is benign”. The longest two weeks of my life ended with the words of the diagnostic results “You got cancer”. I awoke to find that the possibility of my malignant cancer was overturned. As I am encountering cancer now, I have no choice but to accept and tackle the treatment plan which my primary care physician recommended. It is worth passing as a patient.


After the announcement of cancer, I had a series of standard therapies like “freezing of unfertilized egg”, “anticancer drug treatment”, “operation” and “radiation therapy”. I never asked my primary care physician “How many years can I live from now on?” Because I know there are differences in individuals. Instead, I confirmed with him about a ten-year survival ratio judging from my “stage” and “subtype” classification based on my present clinical data. I was happy when I got his reply “90%”. I think the figure “90” is just an average, and I believe I can live longer. Strictly saying, cancer is incurable disease. So, in the medical profession, they use the word “remission” (very close to curable) for cancer. For example, ten years’ survival rate does not mean they cannot live more than ten years. It means they do not die of cancer within ten years. If sufferers do not recur in ten years, the possibility of recurrence is extremely low, and we can understand they are cured.


I explained about cancer a lot. However, I did not want you to know about the knowledge of cancer. I was shocked when I was aware of my death in my early thirties. “The start of my new life” meant literally, I started a different life from the one which I had lived. I started to use my time more effectively, and it became clearer what I wanted to do. I live with having breast cancer and not being scared and regret it. I like to spend the rest of my life proactively and make an effort for myself to have an ambition.



SGRA Kawaraban 746 in Japanese (Original)



QIAN Haiying: 2022 Raccoon, Part-time teacher at SEIJO University     



Translated by Kazuo Kawamura

English checked by Sabina Koirala