Phoenix fire chief expresses optimism after breast cancer surgery

Dec 20, 2019, 11:53 AM

Chief Kara Kalkbrenner (Phoenix Fire Department Photo)...

Chief Kara Kalkbrenner (Phoenix Fire Department Photo)

(Phoenix Fire Department Photo)

PHOENIX – In a message to her department Thursday, Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner said her “prognosis is very good” a week after she underwent surgery for breast cancer.

She also thanked the department for its support in the message, which was released to the media and shared on social media.

“I have been overwhelmed by the incredible amount of support you have demonstrated during the last week. No words are adequate to express my gratitude to each of you,” she said. “It has sustained me through a challenging situation and reminded me how fortunate we are to belong to such a caring organization.”

Kalkbrenner underwent a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery Dec. 13, two days after announcing she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“My doctors have told me that last week’s surgery was successful, and the prognosis is very good,” she said in the message. “With that said, I will work closely with my medical team to remain on a path of wellness as I continue to recuperate.”

Kalkbrenner, who joined the Phoenix Fire Department in 1985, emphasized the importance of taking care when dealing with materials that could cause cancer.

“This of course is a part of our profession, but now we know the sometimes-deadly consequences of being exposed to carcinogens,” she said. “I again encourage each of you to follow exposure protocols.”

She reiterated that she intends to return to her post, something she stated when she first announced that she’d need surgery.

“I’m looking forward to returning to work soon and I thank the executive staff for their leadership during this time. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday with your families and a Happy New Year!” her message concluded.


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Phoenix fire chief expresses optimism after breast cancer surgery