Jan Besse has lived in Regina for over 35 years and worked in many areas of the provincial health care system, including medical imaging and lymphedema outpatient clinic. Having trained as a registered nurse, Jan understands the importance of taking care of one’s own health and how crucial having the proper equipment and qualified physicians in place can be for patient care. In 2018 she would unexpectedly find herself on the patient side of our health care system, and get to experience first hand the amazing care provided right here in Regina. .
On October 24th, 2018, while undergoing a regular screening mammogram, the radiologist, Dr. Ng, noticed a small mass on Jan’s right breast which was confirmed via ultrasound. It was recommended at the time that a biopsy be done.
“It was one of those moments that is just burned into your brain. There are so many thoughts that just run through your mind, yet at the same time you’re frozen.” Jan explains. “Working in healthcare for so long, I have seen how hard the journey can be, but it still doesn’t prepare you for when it actually happens to you.”
Jan underwent her biopsy at our Breast Assessment Centre at the Pasqua Hospital on November 1st, where she was informed by Dr. Lim that he was 99.9% sure the mass was malignant. It was then confirmed that Jan had an invasive ductal cell carcinoma but they had luckily caught it at a very early stage. A lumpectomy was recommended to remove the cancerous mass.
“I had only told my husband about the mass until the biopsy confirmed that it was indeed breast cancer,” Jan noted. “Once it was confirmed, I immediately talked to my two adult sons who were an incredible support throughout.”
One week later, on November 9th , Jan underwent a staging MRI at the Regina General Hospital so the doctors could get a full understanding of the mass and it’s location. Jan then met with her surgeon, Dr. Suzanne Meiers (General Surgeon), on December 10th to fully discuss the procedure and any questions or concerns she had at the time. “The fantastic communication and patience from the physicians, medical imaging team and nurses during this period absolutely made things easier in what otherwise was a very uncertain time”, Jan says.
In early January of 2019, Jan underwent a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node dissection procedure at the Regina General Hospital to remove the cancerous mass in her right breast and to determine whether there was any lymph node involvement. The procedure was successful and Jan began her journey to recovery. She underwent a total of 16 radiation treatments and missed two weeks of work after her procedure, yet considers herself very lucky.
“So many times throughout this journey I found myself thinking about the women whose procedures were much more extensive and how hard their journey must have been.” recalls Jan. “Over the years, I worked with women in the Lymphedema Program that have been through so much. I understand how truly important it is to have the proper medical technology and a team of many health care providers including physicians, medical imaging staff, nurses and therapists in place. Without the many investments by Hospitals of Regina Foundation, a lot of that just would not be possible and I’m certain of that. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical.”
“Jan’s dedication and work in the local health care system has made a difference to so many patients and families over the years. When Jan herself needed care to find and remove breast cancer, we were extremely pleased that our hospitals had the technology they needed to provide her with the best care possible” says Jessica Rawn, Director of Development, Hospitals of Regina Foundation. “Our Foundation is devoted to investing funds to keep good health care local, and we are proud to support facilities such as the Breast Assessment Centre at Pasqua Hospital.”