“Our way is not soft grass; it’s a mountain path with lots of rocks. But it goes upwards, forward, toward the sun.”
On this day, we stand together for everyone who went through this battle, we grieve those we lost, we walk side by side with those who are still running the marathon that is cancer. Today, we educate ourselves and we raise awareness, we try to follow a holistic and preventive lifestyle; in this interview, Omar El-Sharawy, two times cancer survivor, pranic healer, and performance trainer, answers all the questions that will guide us through.
How would you describe cancer awareness in Egypt?
Awareness is excellent in Egypt now, unlike 4 or 5 years ago. I believe the reason for that is we unfortunately saw it first-hand affecting a lot of people around us, in our circles. Many people are aware of cancer from social media. When I myself was a patient, I didn’t find much people, a community, or information on social media. I believe people where afraid of being labelled back then. Now people seem to have enough awareness and acceptance.
How and why does cancer develop?
There are so many known and hidden reasons for cancer development. There are environmental causes like pollution, food and agricultural chemicals, processed food, and the hidden monster: stress. Stress makes the human body too weak, and it affects everyone in a different way: autoimmune disease, digestive disorders etc… sadly, the most common side effect of severe stress now is activated cancer cells. We already have inactive cancer cells in our bodies, stress, and other factors like those I mentioned earlier, activate these cancer cells in our throat, colon, etc. Stress is our prominent enemy, people can develop any kind of disease from stress.
What do you believe is the utmost treatment for cancer?
I believe in medication, whether chemotherapy or radiation or any other protocol suggested by the physician. They are chemicals, and they do have their side effects, but I believe they are necessary. I also believe in holistic nutrition, like fasting and detoxing therapy. I prefer using natural therapy after medication, or maybe even as an adjunct during the suggested therapy.
What are preventive ways or approaches?
There are so many ways. Studies show that people who live on the beach are less likely to get cancer, Egypt is also one of the least affected countries. The Middle east is the least people affected region by cancer because we fast, but we have other causes that include stress and traffic. Nutrition is very important as a factor of prevention, for healing, recovering, and avoiding inflammation, which could later become malignant. Leading a healthy lifestyle is very significant, working out, being active, meditating, sleeping well, and maintaining a healthy mental state can prevent any disease, especially cancer. A person’s emotional state is also a critical factor in disease prevention and immunity levels. The Body and mind are connected.
Will you tell us more about the Body- mind connection in relation to cancer?
The body always follows the mind, especially the subconscious mind. Excessive fear attracts the body to the feared situation, which is always something we don’t want. The body actually feels all the negative energy and activates disease related genes or cancer cells. Energy would be lost by negative thoughts. When I got cancer, I was so shocked and traumatized, I was completely down. When I recovered, I took courses, studied hard for becoming a performance coach for professional athletes, and trained many great players. I learned to always be in and maintain a thriving and well mental state. I started fasting and juicing, and I still do until today. I’m trying to keep the lifestyle alive, the body becomes reprogrammed, and I rarely crave burgers, fries, or any junk food now.
I saw firsthand the transformation of someone mentally and physically changing from a cancer patient to becoming a fit performance trainer now. I went through this journey myself, I tried meditation, the juicing, the detox, the fasting…everything. I recently got certified as a pranic healer to scientifically know more about the body and mind connection.
What are some of the cancer institutions in Egypt and how can people help?
There are so many cancer institutions in Egypt now, including the national cancer institution, 57357, Baheya, South Egypt, 500 500, which I believe needs a lot of support, as it holds a great potential in treating and accommodating a large number of people. We can help by paying visits, to see how the patients are getting through, if their immunity allows, it’s hard during covid. We can also donate to help the hospitals and institutions grow faster and function better. We can raise awareness to lead a healthy lifestyle in our communities too!
What message would you like to say in World’s Cancer Day?
In world cancer day, I want to tell every patient that they’re heroes, and that they’ll always be heroes. To go through cancer is hard, it’s not an easy path at all. Those who recover and do something useful and great with their lives will be much better, they’ll see the world different, and fuller. People who are scared of the disease should be courageous because you don’t only recover by medication, you need to mentally fight the illness so your body follows you. The body depends on itself too, to heal.
“Don’t let pain define you, let it refine you.”