Shanna (Shan) Larsen, a beautiful, talented and full of life young women, lost her life to breast cancer only four months after her diagnosis.
Shan, a professional figure skating coach and artist, had a true passion for life. She was a university graduate who was soon to head off to teacher’s college to follow her love of working with children.
When Shan began to feel fatigued and experienced excessive bone pain, she reached out to her primary health providers. After seeing a bone specialist, she was quickly diagnosed with a common condition and was reassured that she would be fine.
When her symptoms got worse, Shan scheduled several follow-up visits. Her plea for help was met with a suggestion that if she returned again, she would have to be prescribed anti-depressants.
Shan and her family knew that something was not right. Shan continued to feel her unresolved bone pain, fatigue, headaches, nausea and weakness. They requested further testing, which was when they found that Shan’s liver was not functioning properly. What followed was her true diagnosis. Shan had metastatic breast cancer.
Shan passed away less than four months later. Her story is one that inspires us to keep doing the work that we do.
Youth Advisory Council wants to support Team Shan in their mission to spread the word that breast cancer is not just a disease of older women.
Shan’s experience speaks to the numerous barriers to the proper diagnosis of cancer in teens and young adults. These barriers contribute to the loss of valuable and potentially life saving treatment. Young people need to understand their risk of breast cancer, learn early detection strategies, and be empowered to advocate for their proper treatment by primary heath providers.
Youth Advisory Council would like to say thank you to Team Shan for the incredible work they do! Visit their website at www.teamshan.ca to learn about their events and campaigns across Canada.