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A Diagnosis And A “Difficult Waiting Game”

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We are thrilled to mark International Women’s Day 2019 by making our fourth annual donation to World Cancer Research Fund, a global not-for-profit organization and leading authority on the links between diet, nutrition, physical activity, and cancer. In fact, our donation to date totals US$41,000.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re taking a look at the work being done to tackle the disease from three unique female perspectives. Watch for upcoming guest posts from a distinguished cancer researcher, as well as WCRF’s team of specialist dieticians.

Our first story is a personal one. It comes from Dawn Penner, a breast cancer survivor, and a Senior Director of Global Talent Management at SCIEX. Read on to learn more about Dawn’s journey, the impact SCIEX technology had on her treatment and why she feels so strongly about our partnership with WCRF.


Every breast cancer diagnosis is a shock. For me, though, the real blow came after surgery to remove the tumor. I thought I would quickly learn what treatment if any, I would have to face. But further tests were needed to type and stage the cancer before deciding on treatment. This was an extremely difficult waiting game. I have a “let’s get it done” attitude, and I was anxious to have a “project plan” in place to deal with the issue.

It wasn’t until six weeks after my surgery that I finally learned I would need both chemotherapy and radiation. After that, I would have to take tamoxifen for 10 years to help prevent a recurrence. 

SCIEX plays a role in both treatment and prevention.

My treatment, although very difficult at times, was much easier than it would have been a decade ago thanks to SCIEX Mass Specs, which have played a pivotal role in helping pharmaceutical companies refine chemotherapy, so it’s more targeted and has fewer serious side effects. SCIEX has even played an important role in keeping me cancer-free, as tamoxifen was discovered using a SCIEX Mass Spec. 

Innovation on the treatment side is just one important contribution SCIEX is making to the fight against cancer. Our ongoing financial assistance for WCRF is another. The organization works to prevent cancer by promoting simple and achievable lifestyle changes, and their efforts align perfectly with ours. It makes me very proud to see SCIEX support this worthy cause.

The power of friends and family.

Support is also a critical key to success for anyone going through cancer treatment, and I was lucky to have lots of help from friends and family. My husband was always at my side, helping me cook – a passion of mine – whenever I felt up to it. My daughter flew home from Vancouver to be with me, and my son was always checking in. Friends lent a hand in the most remarkable ways, delivering meals during challenging treatment phases and even wrapping Christmas gifts for me. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful circle of supporters.

Looking to the future.

I’m very pleased to say that my treatment was a success and I’m now in remission. I have just passed my fourth post-treatment anniversary and I look forward to celebrating number five in January 2020.

My success story is just one of thousands that our work at SCIEX ­– and our collaboration with WCRF – has made possible. It is so rewarding to know that what we do can have such a positive impact. In my case, it truly was a lifesaver. Thank you to everyone at SCIEX for the part you played in developing the wonderful technology that made my treatment possible. I am so very proud of our great SCIEX team.

Stay tuned for the next post in our special World Cancer Research Fund series. Dr. Jennifer Baker of Denmark’s Frederiksberg Hospital will be detailing her WCRF-funded project, a leading-edge look at body composition and its possible impacts on a woman’s breast-cancer risk.

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