Cancer Patient ‘Never Felt Alone in This Fight’

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A tragic lesson in the importance of early breast cancer detection, along with the persistence of some members of Adena Health’s cancer care team, have made a critical difference in the life Lisa Ehman-Chapman now lives.

Lisa was not one to get regular breast cancer screenings. That all changed about six years ago when her sister was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, which later would claim her life.

That diagnosis was eye-opening for Lisa, at least initially, as it jarred her into getting her own first screening, which came back negative for cancer. Like many of us, however, she got lost within her busy life, continuing to perform her duties as a nurse practitioner at a medical practice in Rio Grande and, in the process, neglecting to follow up with annual screenings.

Then, in January of 2023, the Adena Health mobile mammography unit was scheduled to visit her workplace for the first time to provide screenings. Lisa signed up to have one performed, but when the time came for her to have it performed, she didn’t want to step away from her work. Rather than just move on to the next patient, however, a staff member from the unit sought her out and stressed the importance of getting the screening.

That persistence proved life-changing.

A couple days following the mammogram, Lisa received word that the screening detected something and follow-up was needed. After not hearing back from her for a few weeks, an Adena Health team member reached out again to get a biopsy scheduled around her work schedule. That biopsy revealed the presence of pre-cancerous cells and let to a second biopsy that discovered Stage 1A breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive carcinoma.

The first question she recalls being asked was where she wanted to go for treatment.

“That really stood out to me, that they let me choose,” Lisa said. “They wanted me to be in control of my treatment. I didn’t hesitate in telling them that I wanted to be treated at Adena.”

Lisa began with a 15-treatment regimen of radiation therapy and is now on a hormone-blocking medication she will be taking for five years. 

Lisa praised the entire team that worked with her, but singled out Adena Cancer Center physicians Jeffrey Rose, MD, and Greg Thompson, MD, and the center’s nurse navigator program.

“They always start our conversations asking me to tell them what I know about what’s going on,” she said. “They don’t talk over me and always make me feel understood and not rushed. Likewise, the staff itself was great about following up with me over and over again, and that first screening on the mammography unit was so convenient because I didn’t have to leave work for very long to get that important screening.”

All of that combined to bring a real team feeling to her battle that has helped her work through it.

“Really, I never have felt like I’m alone in this fight,” she said.