Patient Stories

Valerie Armstrong thought her days were numbered

Cancer patient was given a death sentence until she came to St. Michael’s Hospital.

A recurring stomach pain sent Valerie to the emergency room of St. Michael’s Hospital where she was diagnosed with bile duct cancer, a rare and often fatal disease.

Dr. Christine Brezden-Masley, head of the oncology and hematology division, promised they wouldn’t give up on her. “She told me ‘we’re going to beat this thing,’” says Valerie. “At that moment I made a decision not to look back—not to dwell on this one bad time and to think about the good times.”

Through 12 rounds of chemotherapy, Valerie stayed hopeful and surrounded herself with friends and family. Just a year and a half after her diagnosis, she entered remission.

Valerie has since travelled to Europe twice, and now—at age 83—is busy planning another trip to London and Amsterdam.

Canada’s five-year cancer survival rate has jumped from 25 per cent in the 1940s to 60 per cent today. St. Michael’s is always looking to do more.

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