Early detection: A life-saver

11/1/2017
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 Kim Doucet

It was just another October day for Kim Doucet. As an instructor at College of the North Atlantic - Qatar, Kim opened her email and saw an announcement for the College’s annual breast cancer awareness campaign. Each year at CNA-Q, the college hosts a month-long campaign for screening activities and celebration of cancer survivors.

As part of the partnership with the community, campaign organizers invited Primary Health Care Corporations’ mobile breast screening unit to offer self-examinations and mammograms on campus. At 48 years old, the married mother of two had never experienced any symptoms or family history of cancer, and she regularly conducted self-examinations. As a trained nurse, Kim teaches at CNA-Q’s School of Health Sciences, and she knew the importance of early-detection. “As a nurse and a woman, I wanted to support the campaign on campus, so I signed up to get my first mammogram not thinking much of it,” she said. A week later, she received a call asking her to speak with a doctor about the results of her mammogram. On the way to see the doctor Kim was nervous about what the results may be. She was stopped at an intersection when a man, a complete stranger, pulled up next to her and motioned for her to roll down the window. In a simple, but powerful gesture, he looked at her and said “my God, your God, same God, my dear you will be ok.” Then the light turned green and the man drove away as if it was a dream. “I knew then, whatever the news was going to be, that I would be OK and I would get through it, “she said. Upon a biopsy, Kim was diagnosed with Stage One (early) breast cancer in her right breast. There were two very small cancerous lumps less than 2mm.

Within a week of diagnosis, Kim underwent a lumpectomy in her breast, and started 33 sessions of radiation therapy at Hamad Hospital’s Cancer Treatment Centre. Through it all she had the support of many healthcare professionals and a wide network of friends and coworkers. “Immediately there was so much support from the Qatari healthcare sector. The doctors were very empathetic, and I felt that they were giving me the best treatment possible.” Last spring, Kim was undergoing additional screening to ensure her cancer had not spread. It was then detected that a small portion of the breast cancer has spread to her spine. Again, she received immediate attention and referral to the Hamad’s Bone and Joint Centre. The small portion of bone cancer was successfully removed and she is well on her way to recovery from the surgery. One year after her diagnosis, Kim is living cancer free. She has returned to work at CNA-Q, was able to see her daughter get married, and her son graduate from College. Her outlook on life is one of positivity and appreciation. “If the PHCC mobile breast screening bus never came to campus, I would have never had a mammogram. I would have never has known that I had cancer,” she said. “I’m happy to find the cancer when I did – I’m happy to be alive!”

 

 

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