Hi, my name is Chitrika de Mel, I am from Sri Lanka and am a breast Cancer survivor.

I'm sharing my story to support others who have been diagnosed with NCDs and to be of help to them through advocacy.

Written Diary

1 June 2022

My journey

My journey started in 2016 when I felt an unusual lump on my left breast. My family physician referred me to a private surgeon who could see me that day, unlike surgeons at the state hospital. The surgeon ordered a Fine Needle Biopsy, which confirmed it was cancer. It was with this surgeon that I underwent a mastectomy, before which he explained about post-operative care and my treatment plan.  He also referred me to an oncologist. All this occurred in the private health sector, which I chose to avoid the long wait in the public health system. The private system was an affordable option for me, and I felt that choosing this route would give somebody else a better chance in the public system. My surgeon was excellent, and I had no issues with healing.

After surgery, we met the oncologist, also private, who explained my post-surgery treatment and took time to assure me that my treatment would be successful. The oncologist also assured my husband that I was in safe hands, and guided him on how to support me. This was necessary as we had a young family and needed to prepare the children on how to navigate this all together. It was a tough ride with eight cycles of chemotherapy, with the biggest challenges being my loss of hair and facing the outside world. Throughout my chemotherapy followed by radiation, my family reassured me I would be back to normal.

Over the next ten years  my checkups, scans and blood reports were tedious to undertake but I went through it all - initially on a monthly basis, then every three months, six months and finally annually. Although I saw the oncologist privately, I had my treatment at the National Cancer Hospital as this was the best place to access the correct drugs. This was a bit difficult as there were so many patients waiting their turn, but it allowed me to experience the hard reality that others did.

If not for the support from my family, my doctors and the medical staff who were very attentive to my needs, I would not have been able to go through this journey. And now, volunteering with an organisation dealing with cancer patients, I’m able to support patients who come from far and wide with a kind word and smile and assure them that if we follow the advice of doctors, we can get through it all.

NCD Diaries

Raising a voice for the cause.

Chitrika De Mel, lived experience of cancer, Sri Lanka


The NCD Diaries use rich and immersive multimedia approaches to share lived experiences to drive change, using a public narrative framework.

Explore NCD diaries

Visual Diary iconBenjamin Olorunfemi

Benjamin Olorunfemi

Visual Diary iconNkiruka Okoro

Nkiruka Okoro

Visual Diary iconJotham Johnson

Jotham Johnson

Podcast Diary iconSnehal Nandagawli

Snehal Nandagawli

Written Diary iconMariana Gomez

Mariana Gomez

Written Diary iconKarmila Munadi

Karmila Munadi

Written Diary iconEvelyn Santos

Evelyn Santos

Written Diary iconGrace Achodo

Grace Achodo

Written Diary iconMaryanne Njuguna

Maryanne Njuguna

Written Diary iconJoselyne Simiyu

Joselyne Simiyu

Visual Diary iconAnita Sabidi

Anita Sabidi

Written Diary iconWendy Reaser

Wendy Reaser

Written Diary iconTakwe Boniface Njecko

Takwe Boniface Njecko

Written Diary iconChitrika De Mel

Chitrika De Mel

Written Diary iconJoseph Rukelibuga

Joseph Rukelibuga

Visual Diary iconLucía Feito Allonca

Lucia Feito Allonca

Written Diary iconBrenda Chitindi

Brenda Chitindi

Visual Diary iconNeema Mohamed

Neema Mohamed

Written Diary iconAshla Rani MP

Ashla Rani MP

Visual Diary iconOduor Kevin Otieno

Oduor Kevin

Visual Diary iconKatherine Berkoh

Katherine Berkoh

Visual Diary iconMirriam Wakanyi

Mirriam Wakanyi

Visual Diary iconAmber Huett-Garcia

Amber Huett-Garcia

Visual Diary iconMazeda Begum

Begum Mazeda

Visual Diary iconLinh Nguyen Ha

Linh Nguyen Ha

Podcast Diary iconOmar Abureesh

Omar Abu Reesh

Podcast Diary iconLiz  Owino

Liz Achieng Owino

Written Diary iconJohn Gikonyo

John Gikonyo

Written Diary iconSamuel Kumwanje

Samuel Kumwanje

Written Diary iconJean Marie Blaise Migabo

Jean Marie Migabo

Written Diary iconEdith Mukantwari

Edith Mukantwari

Written Diary iconAdjo Rose Lankou

Adjo Rose Lankou

Visual Diary iconGloria Haro

Gloria Haro

Visual Diary iconRohan Arora

Rohan Arora

Visual Diary iconRobert Onyango

Robert Onyango

Podcast Diary iconVijayalakshimy Silvathorai

Vijayalakshimy Silvathorai

Podcast Diary iconAllison Ibrahim

Allison Ibrahim

Podcast Diary iconSeema Bali

Seema Bali

Visual Diary iconSalome Agallo

Salome Agallo

Visual Diary iconAma Quainoo

Ama Quainoo

Visual Diary iconBetsy Rodriguez

Betsy Rodriguez

Visual Diary iconVivian Gyasi Sarfo

Vivian Gyasi Sarfo

Visual Diary iconLion Osarenkhoe Chima-Nwogwugwu

Lion Chima-Nwogwugwu

Written Diary iconShamim Talukder

Shamim Talukder

Written Diary iconJazz Sethi

Jazz Sethi

Written Diary iconMichael Donohoe

Michael Donohoe

Written Diary iconJaime Barba

Jaime Barba

Written Diary iconStephen Ogweno

Stephen Ogweno

The current theme is

My healthcare provider's impact on my NCD journey

View the Diaries