« Back to articlePrint this article

What is ovarian cancer? The silent killer that Nafisa Ali is fighting

Last updated on: December 27, 2018 12:21 IST

Actor Nafisa Ali, 61, who is suffering from peritoneal and ovarian cancer, has taken to Instagram to share heart-warming posts about her struggle, the diagnosis and how it helps to see the brighter side of life. 

On November 18, as she wished her daughter a happy birthday, Nafisa Ali revealed on Instagram that she has peritoneal and ovarian cancer.

She wrote: 'Happy Birthday my darling Pia. My children are my reason to get better through my cancer struggle and overcome. It's just going to take its own course with peritoneal and ovarian cancer.'

Diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, the actor has been using her social media profile to talk about the deadly disease, the toll it takes on your life, and how she is looking forward to getting better with the support of her family and friends. 

She writes: 'Dear cancer, leave my body as it's my life we are talking about, you have loved me but it's time to say adieu... I love life.'

Scroll down to read some of her posts.

'My hair has started falling out in heaps... it made me cry... not for vanity, but the reality that I have cancer and that chemotherapy is working finally sank in. I will shave my hair off tomorrow.' 

'Saturday lunch with our them all... my husband Pickles sent me a message today, so I am sharing ...'Dearest darling, U are the bravest, most adorable, beautiful and precious being of my life. We have a very long and happy journey ahead. I am blessed and we are blessed by your presence. Love u eternally. U will be victorious. We will be with u all along.'

This pic was taken soon after her second chemotherapy.

And this one, after her first chemotherapy. 

'This was a cute moment as all the hospital staff (@ Max Oncology Center , which is on Ring Rd opposite Lajpat Nagar) were celebrating Christmas and clapping for each other... so I yelled out 'What about me the patient I want a reward too!' Soon all of them came to my room and Dr Julka gave me Christmas cake...I had a tiny bite as no sugar is allowed as it feeds cancer.' 

She writes: 'My chemotherapy rash has started and it spreads to all over my body... as long as it kills the cancer it's feels hot.'

'With my childhood friend after taking my bone marrow booster shot as chemotherapy affects it... makes the bones ache for 2 days.'

What's peritoneal and ovarian cancer?

According to, 'Peritoneal cancer is a rare cancer. It develops in a thin layer of tissue that lines the abdomen. It also covers the uterus, bladder, and rectum.

'Made of epithelial cells, this structure is called the peritoneum. It produces a fluid that helps organs move smoothly inside the abdomen.'

Explaining the link between peritoneal and ovarian cancer they add, 'Peritoneal cancer acts and looks like ovarian cancer. This is mainly because the surface of the ovaries is made of epithelial cells, as is the peritoneum. Therefore, peritoneal cancer and a type of ovarian cancer cause similar symptoms. Doctors also treat them in much the same way.

'Despite its similarities with ovarian cancer, you can have peritoneal cancer even if your ovaries have been removed. Peritoneal cancer can occur anywhere in the abdominal space. It affects the surface of organs contained inside the peritoneum.'

The symptoms

Rediff Get Ahead