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Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner diagnosed with breast cancer

Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner (Facebook)

PHOENIX — Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner announced Wednesday night that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“While this is unfortunate news, I have a positive outlook and feel confident that I will beat this,” she wrote in an open letter on the department’s Facebook page.

The post goes on to say that Kalkbrenner will undergo a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery Friday, and it is unclear whether or not she will need further treatment.

Kalkbrenner said she intends to continue leading the department after the initial recovery period from the surgery.

“In the interim, we are fortunate to have a bright, diverse executive staff and a supportive union,” she wrote.

Kalkbrenner mentioned in the post she discovered a lump in her breast several weeks ago.

“Our department is fortunate to have the exemplary team from the Vincere Cancer Center in our court,” she stated in the post.

“The physicians used state of the art diagnostics to determine the best course of treatment.”

At an April event introducing a free cancer screening program for firefighters, Kalkbrenner said, “You put a blue shirt on and become a firefighter your risk of cancer raises 25% by taking an oath.”

The screening program, she added that day, was “something very near and dear to me.”

Kalkbrenner joined the agency in 1985 and is one of only six female chiefs of large metropolitan fire departments in the country.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.

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