Family Members

We Are All Mehrshad: A Bright Sun

After dealing with cancer in his family, Mehrshad Fekri faced the implications of his family history, and decided to educate men about breast cancer and to refocus his graduate studies on cancer research.
April 2020 Vol 6 No 2
Mehrshad Fekri, PhD Candidate
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Biological Sciences,
Tehran North Branch, Islamic Azad University,
Tehran, Iran

I am a person who is at risk for cancer, a family member of a patient with cancer, and a cancer researcher.

About 10 years ago, my lovely uncle died of colon cancer. His death was a very sad event for us, and I was heartbroken. Subsequently, one of my aunts was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her doctor sent her to see a specialist, who decided she needed an operation.

Cancer was a catastrophic, fatal, and scary word for us, and the image of cancer was very dark in our minds. My family and I were anxious before my aunt went to the hospital to begin her treatment, which was a challenging moment for all of us.

The surgeon explained to the family the risks and benefits of the operation, and we agreed it was a positive approach, and the surgery was then performed immediately. The operation was successful, and after that she started the chemotherapy process.


Before the first day of chemotherapy, a nurse shaved her hair and eyebrows. It was a tough moment for my aunt, who told me, “Now I am a girl who lost her hair, eyebrows, and one of her breasts. Apparently, cancer is an incurable illness that runs in our family.”

I told her, “No you are a beautiful and powerful girl who temporarily lost your hair, eyebrows, and one of your breasts. Don’t forget that you have entered the world of powerful and extraordinary warriors, and please don’t let it break you, and try to win the battle. I firmly believe that you are unbreakable.”

During the chemotherapy treatment, I did everything to make her laugh. Sometimes I surprised her with a gift, and I painted and wrote poetry for her as a motivator. Whenever she was disappointed, I asked her to be strong and to “be sure that the cancer cannot break you, but you can break the cancer.”

A Cyst

During her treatment process, I decided to have ultrasound imaging of my own breasts, based on my brother’s advice. The ultrasound showed I had a 7-mm cyst in my left breast. It was shocking, because I didn’t know that a man could be diagnosed with a breast cyst or breast cancer.

I was very worried, because of my family history, and the genetic issues related to cancer, but the doctor tried to calm me, and prescribed a drug regimen and diet for 2 months. She told me that after 2 months, I must get a checkup again.

Those days were tough, and I was very confused. I hid my psychological stresses from everyone and pretended that everything was okay, and I tried to be brave.

The Bright Sun

One day, my tactful mother told me something that changed the way I thought and the way I felt. She told me, “Your name is Mehrshad. It means ‘The bright sun,’ and nothing can turn the bright sun into a circular dark object.”

This sentence was like a big bang in the galaxy of my mind, and it played a motivational role in my life. Despite my problems, I tried to be powerful like a mountain, and I concentrated on writing poetry and lyrics, dancing, painting, singing, and listening to music during the tough moments. I tried to be unbreakable, and I was protector of my aunt and myself simultaneously.

I knew that I was more powerful than my left breast cyst, and I was able to help my aunt to understand that she was more powerful than breast cancer; she is now a cancer survivor.

After 2 months, I had another ultrasound of my breasts. It showed that I didn’t have a cyst in my left breast, but instead I was diagnosed with gynecomastia, a condition in which the amount of breast tissue in boys or in men is increased because of an imbalance of the female and male hormones (estrogen and testosterone).

Building Self- Confidence

After overcoming these crises, I decided to get more involved with cancer. I studied biology, because I wanted to be a researcher and find therapies for cancer. Based on my individual experience in the struggle with cancer as a family member of people with cancer, a person who is at risk for cancer, and a researcher, I thought I could invent a simple, easy, and inexpensive method to deal with cancer.

This would be a method that could increase our self-confidence, prepare our mind, and vanish feeling frustrated against cancer, using artistic tools. Such tools are useful for patients with cancer, as well as for people around the world who want to have a clear weapon against cancer.

Moreover, it can be applied to those struggling with other diseases. This is an add-on therapeutic method that patients with cancer can practice simultaneously in addition to using methods such as drug therapies. This can change people to act as a distinctive warrior against cancer.

A New Window

My goal is to go abroad for my doctorate studies and do research on cancer vaccines and drugs to help in the effort to eradicate cancer. Every day I try to open a new window against the dark world of cancer, which fills me with hope about eradicating cancer, and I believe that I can do it with the cooperation of people around the world, when I say, “We can do it,” instead of, “I can do it.”

When love, kindness, and peace coexist, these are 3 powerful tools against cancer. Try to follow them. Many people around the world don’t know about breast cancer in men, and therefore, men normally don’t get checkups for their breasts. I hope that this article will help to inform men about this.

Moreover, CONQUER magazine can help to bridge the gap between people who are struggling with cancer as patients, family members, or cancer researchers. My message to everybody is, “Each of you is a ‘Mehrshad,’ meaning that each of you is a ‘bright sun,’ and nothing can turn the bright sun into a circular dark object.”

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Last modified: May 11, 2020

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