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Ken with his grandsons

Ken with his grandsons

Patient Story

Inspired to Give

Exceptional Care Within Walking Distance

A cancer diagnosis can often come as a surprise. And It can be extremely overwhelming.

In March 2021, Ken had a sore throat. While he hoped it would go away, it got progressively worse.

“When I started to have trouble swallowing, I contacted my family doctor right away,” Ken recalls.

Ken was referred to Dr. Sharif Missiha at Lakeridge Health Oshawa for an endoscopy of his throat. Dr. Missiha dilated Ken’s esophagus and took an upper endoscopy, a procedure that helps identify conditions of the throat and digestive tract..

A month later, Ken received a call from Dr. Missiha and received the shocking news – he had cancer. “I was floored. Almost literally,” Ken says. “I live alone and sat there for a while trying to absorb what I had just been told. It took me a few hours to figure out how to tell my two adult sons.”

Ken would undergo a CT scan, a gastroscopy, and multiple assessments at the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre (DRCC) in the span of a few weeks. He also had to travel to a Toronto Hospital for further scans.

Following the whirlwind of tests and assessments, Dr. Shannon Trainor, Ken’s thoracic surgeon, helped him prepare for the months ahead. Over the next six weeks, Ken went through 28 radiation treatments and five rounds of chemotherapy. “I was exhausted and worn out by the time everything was done,” Ken recalls.

Because he lives close to the Hospital, Ken walked to all his treatments and didn’t have to rely on his family and friends for rides.

A month later, Dr. Trainor presented Ken with two options. “She told me that I could hope the chemo and radiation had taken care of the cancer, or I could have an esophagectomy.”

While he was hesitant to undergo surgery, Ken knew it was his best option to ensure that his cancer didn’t return. On October 18, 2021, Dr. Trainor performed the esophagectomy, which removed part of the swallowing tube between Ken’s mouth and stomach.

Ken spent 10 days at the Hospital recovering before heading home. Just hours after picking up his father, Ken’s son was back at Lakeridge Health Oshawa with his wife, who gave birth to their second child—a happy, healthy baby boy. “What full-circle care we had that day,” Ken says with a smile.

Two years later, Ken is feeling good and, most importantly, cancer-free. “I owe my life to the cancer centre staff and doctors at LHO, especially Dr. Trainor. I was amazed at the speed at which everything began once my cancer was diagnosed. Thanks to them, I can continue to live my life.”

Ken’s care inspired him to support Our Cancer Campaign. “I was coming home from a visit with my son and listening to the radio when a commercial came on for Having been a patient at the DRCC, I decided right then and there to donate to this important cause.”

Thanks to supporters like Ken, Our Cancer Campaign raised $21 million to advance cancer care in Durham Region and beyond – an incredible achievement for the community!