Hometown: Mission, B.C.
To read Dennis’s wife’s profile please click here.
What school did/do you attend?
Are you working?
What is/are your career goal(s)?
To finish my apprenticeship then take over my dad’s business.
Your Cancer experience
Who did you support with cancer?
Cassandra Burke (Wife)
How did you find out about the cancer? What event(s) led to the diagnosis?
She went over the follow-up results and was told there was a new growth. She called me at work.
What year was it? How old were you?
It was 2008, I was 24.
What kind of cancer was he/she first diagnosed with?
Kidney cancer, then Wilm’s tumor.
What were your first thoughts when you found out about the diagnosis?
Really sad. Then I thought about our future.
How did your family react?
They were sad, but very supportive of both of us.
How did your friends react? Did your friends begin treating you different?
They noticed my mood changes, but they didn’t change much.
How did you support him/her with cancer?
I tried to think positive whenever possible.
What resources would you have liked to avail of personally since his/her diagnosis?
I would like to know more about her cancer.
Do you know what the treatment consisted/consists of?
Describe the medical side (chemo, radiation, in-patient, out-patient)
Chemo, ECG, MRI.
Describe the non-medical side (how you felt emotionally, physical side-effects, exhaustion for example)
I have lost interest in my old activities. I need to get accustomed to living with one household income.
In which Hospital(s) was he/she treated?
Vancouver & Abbotsford.
What was the outcome?
Positive, so far.
How is life different for you now that you have had a cancer experience?
I have looked into my own family’s cancer history.
What was the hardest thing about adjusting to life after a cancer diagnosis?
Making ends meet and not being able to go out as often as before.
What is/was the toughest part of having a cancer experience?
Seeing her in pain after surgery.
What is/was the best part about having a cancer challenge?
Meeting new friends through our local support group.
What really motivated you to keep going while he/she was sick?
Knowing the survival rate and that chemo was short-term.
What lessons or messages have you taken away from your experience?
You need to save money for emergencies like this. I also learned about my family’s history of skin cancer.
What are your thoughts and feelings about cancer now? How has your perception changed since before you were faced with a challenge?
I’m more conscious about what I eat and other things that could lead to cancer.
What are some (if there are any you know of) preventative measures that people can take to lower their risk of having an experience?
Diet, no smoking, low sun exposure, more fruit and veggies.
Did you attend any support groups during your challenge?
Yes. It has been lots of fun. We got to meet new people and it has been very helpful for Cassandra.
How are you connected with Young Adult Cancer?
We met Young Adult Cancer Canada through our Young Cancer Survivors of Canada support group. It’s cool that there is a national group.