Kanchan Daniel may come across as just another beautiful, Indian woman in her 20s. A clinical psychologist and a lead singer in an indie band, her life might seem perfect to anyone who doesn’t know her. But those who do, know that her biggest struggle in life has been life itself.

Kanchan was diagnosed with cancer when she was all of 17. She shared her story with Humans Of Bombay and we couldn’t have been more inspired!

Here’s her story, re-published with permission:

“I had recently given my 12th grade exams, when I came home one day and felt tremendous pain in my thigh, followed by a high fever. When I visited my family doctor, they asked us to get a sonography done and that’s when we realised I had a 4kg tumour inside my body that didn’t show even a little bit from the outside. I went into surgery the next day and I remember my doctor pacing up and down the room trying to break it to me that I had 3rd stage cancer, but by then I had already figured it out. I made it easier for her by asking the question, ‘will I lose my hair?’ At that point, when my parents asked the doctor for my chances of survival, I was at 0%.

The thing is, from the very beginning I didn’t allow cancer to get the better of me – if anything, cancer was always playing a losing game with me. Since the time I was diagnosed with a 0% survival chance, I had made up my mind that I would defeat it. I did lose my hair, so I called a barber home, shaved it all off and proceeded to mock myself in front of others as ‘egghead’ – I never allowed cancer to make me a victim. I’ve always called myself a ‘shameless cancer patient’ because I would just laugh things off and embrace them as an experience – but I think that’s the only thing that got me out of it.

Infact, cancer made me realise how lucky I am to have gotten a 2nd life and pushed me to pursue everything I’m passionate about. I studied clinical psychology because I wanted to help others, especially teens who had cancer to deal with it. But the biggest thing cancer has done for me is to get me into music – I began singing to emote better – and I’m the lead singer of my own band!

So what can I say – I went through 3 chemo sessions, 8 surgeries and a million complications at the age of 17 — but I won the battle, only because I was shameless enough to laugh at it rather than giving it the power to be life threatening.

All images via Kanchan

You can listen to one of her amazing songs here:


Hats of to you, woman! Stay awesome.