Iyna is a confident, driven, Muslim, British South Asian woman. She was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the age of 30.
Born in the UK and brought up by Pakistani parents, myself and my siblings have constantly tried to balance my family heritage with British culture. I was taught to be independent but to never forget my cultural and Muslim values.
I'm grateful that cancer came at 30 and not later in life. I've now got many years to give back and make an impact.
It has been a long and difficult journey
I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the age of 30 in January 2015. With a 4 year old son, and no family history or knowledge of cancer, the diagnosis came as a shock. I went through chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy, finishing my treatment in October 2015. Then 5 years later at the age of 35, I had to have a hysterectomy due to high risk ovarian cancer.
It has been a long and lonely journey, which only becomes harder when you are from the South Asian community. The lack of culturally tailored support groups and not seeing someone like me on posters and TV made me realise that my diagnosis could change the face of cancer for South Asian women.
I want to raise awareness of breast cancer amongst South Asian women
I decided to use my voice and cancer journey to educate and raise the importance of diversity within the cancer campaign world, raise the issues of health inequalities and shake up the system.
We're not a community who speaks about cancer due to cultural stigma, taboo and lack of representation. So, I'm hoping that my face and story can raise awareness and change the system.
Keep it simple, wear it pink
It’s so important to wear it pink so that together, we can raise funds for life-saving breast cancer research and life-changing support. I also want to spread the message on how to check your own breasts for early signs of breast cancer.
This October, keep it simple and do something that you love – just wear it pink!