Special Report: Retired San Diego police officer makes heroic pu - KUSI News - San Diego, CA

Special Report: Retired San Diego police officer makes heroic push through breast cancer

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Retired San Diego police officers beats breast cancer Retired San Diego police officers beats breast cancer
Janet Chelberg-Burgess Janet Chelberg-Burgess

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A former police officer finds herself in a fight for her life.

She was one of the first women to ever patrol the streets of San Diego and Thursday, she continues to battle a different type of danger, breast cancer.

Janet Chelberg-Burgess remembers what it was like to be one of the first female officers for the San Diego Police Department.

"Some days were harder than others," she said, from her time working in the mid-70's. 

Although she's now retired, this 35-year police veteran found herself faced with danger once again.

Her breast cancer was detected during her yearly mammogram and she said it made her feel weak.

"At the time, you don't feel that tough. I felt like a crème puff," she said.

But that weakness transitioned into strength once again as Scripps Health immediately assembled a team of doctors.

"In two weeks, I would start chemotherapy, surgery, followed by radiation," Janet said.

Eight months and five days later, Janet had her last treatment at the Scripps Radiation Therapy Center in La Jolla.

"I'm very happy to say she did great and her cancer is gone," said Dr. Ray Lin of the Scripps Radiation Oncology Center.

Part of Janet's view while she was getting chemo was a view of the Pacific. Watching the waves and the hang gliders, Janet said it inspired her to keep on fighting and take on another challenge on top of it all.

"I would overlook the area where I would boogie board and I thought about that the entire time I was in chemotherapy. I though, as soon as I get out of this chemotherapy, I want to go boogie boarding," she said.

Janet said she is very grateful for her doctors and hopes that her story sends a clear message, echoed by doctors.

"There is a 1 in 8 lifetime risk of women in the U.S. developing breast cancer so we ask women to get screen with mammograms, ultrasound, MRI imaging depending on the density of her breast," Dr. Lin said.

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