While breast cancer is a "thing of the past" for Diana Kovacs, her gratitude for the support she's received has stayed with her.
It was over decade ago now that Diana Kovacs was first diagnosed with breast cancer.
While she only spent 6 months in chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Diana was still considered a patient of the Algoma District Cancer Care Program up until 2 years ago. She laughed as she shared,
“I was doing too well – they had to boot me out!”
Cancer may not be a daily thought for Diana anymore, but it will always be part of her life. She and her family never take off their pink breast cancer bracelets – they’ve become a “good luck charm” for them all. Diana also does what she can to help others with cancer: participating in a clinical trial, using her hairdressing skills to help cancer patients cope with hair loss, and talking about her experiences. “Any way I can help someone else, I’m happy to do it.”
Despite how well things are going today for Diana, she is still closely followed by SAH’s Breast Screening Program.
The Breast Screening Program’s goal is to look for (and catch) breast cancer early, while it is still highly treatable. A key part of this program is providing support for women who are considered “high risk” – including those who have had cancer, those with a family history, or those with a genetic risk.
“High risk” women are encouraged to come in for regular breast screening, with the frequency of their appointments based on their risk factors. Because of her past diagnosis, Diana is part of this “high risk” group, and receives yearly mammograms.
It’s not a test she looks forward to, but she knows how important it is to catch cancer early. Each time, she says “nobody has died from having a mammogram,” holds her breath for a few seconds, and before she knows it, it’s over.
For women who may be putting off this routine screening, Diana has a few words of advice:
“Don’t be afraid,” she says. “It’s all doable. This whole journey – it was all doable.”
"The doctors, nurses, technologists...everybody. I can't ever say enough about how good everyone and everything was. It's been such a positive experience for me."
It’s not just about the initial diagnosis – cancer, like Diana’s, requires ongoing monitoring for years. Imaging tools are critical to this surveillance. From specialized pieces, like a mammography unit for following breast cancer, to massive multi-million dollar pieces like the MRI and CT Scanner. We couldn’t get the full picture on cancer without donor's support.
While the tests can be stressful, and sometimes uncomfortable, the gratitude our patients feel when they get a clean bill of health is immeasurable. The sigh of relief when someone hears they’re “cancer free”? Community gifts made that possible, with local support of our hospital.
Local donations help fight cancer