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What began as a routine colonoscopy ended with the shocking news that Mardele had anal cancer.

“The first thing that came out of my mouth was, ‘Farrah Fawcett just died of that,’” she recalls.

Mardele went for colonoscopies every three to five years as a precaution because her own mother died of colon cancer when she was 62. While her physician reassured her that the cancer was in early stages and very curable, Mardele was also informed that if she hadn’t been going for regular check-ups, the cancer wouldn’t have been found in time and she would have died.

Within three weeks of her fall 2009 diagnosis, Mardele began aggressive, concurrent chemotherapy and radiation that made her so sick she became hospitalized.

Fortunately, she was released Christmas Eve 2009, and now says “I haven’t looked back.”

Two months later, she traveled to Alberta for advanced medical imaging - a PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography – Computer Tomography) scan because Saskatchewan didn’t have one. More than 300 people leave Saskatchewan each year for PET-CT scans, and now that PET-CT is fully operational at RUH, it’s expected more than 1,000 patients will access it.

“It was for my peace of mind,” says Mardele. The results came back clear. A year and a half later, Mardele underwent a second PET-CT scan, again in Alberta and again clear. Mardele feels fortunate her family had the time and resources to travel out of province and was relieved to have the results. She can just imagine how difficult it is for those who aren’t able to leave for a PET-CT scan or haven’t been referred for one: she says the unknown is incredibly frightening.

“It’s just devastating when you get news of something like cancer, and then to need a test like a PET-CT scan and have to travel for it - that’s just wrong.”

The Royal University Hospital’s $2.5 million PICTURE THIS! Campaign has brought PET-CT to Saskatchewan so patients and their families like Mardele no longer have to travel out of province. As the most advanced medical imaging technology, PET-CT provides three dimensional images of the body not available through other tests such as CT scans or MRI exam. That means earlier diagnosis and faster treatment for cancer, cardiac and neurology patients.

She says having a PET-CT at RUH will help lift a weight off the shoulders of patients and their families.

“When you’re diagnosed with cancer, you don’t know if you’re going to live or die. To have that compounded with taking care of a family while having to travel and worry about the cost is just too much.”

To bring PET-CT to Saskatchewan, the Province of Saskatchewan committed $4 Million, and the RUH Foundation committed to raising the balance of the funds partnering with PotashCorp, who committed to match donations up to $1 million. PotashCorp is strengthening the roots of the community.

To continue to help make that happen for other people like Mardele and their families by supporting research and education in nuclear medicine, you can donate here or by phoning our office at (306) 655-1984.





At RUH Foundation, we create excellence in health care by raising funds that anticipate and respond to needs for innovative research, education and patient care at Royal University Hospital.

Copyright Royal University Hospital Foundation 2012. All rights reserved.

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Royal University Hospital Foundation
Room 1626
103 Hospital Drive
Saskatoon, SK  S7N 0W8
Office: 306-655-1984 Fax: 306-655-1979

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