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- Adena Regional Medical Center
Never Too Late for Early Detection
Carolyn Hall had a life-changing mammogram at 73
In her 73 years, Carolyn Hall had never had a mammogram. She was too preoccupied with keeping her anemia and kidney disease under control to even think about breast cancer screening.
Fortunately, Hall was being treated for her anemia at Adena Cancer Center. At one appointment, Douglas M. Smith, CNS, CNP, oncology nurse practitioner, reviewed her charts and saw something missing.
“He said, ‘I don’t see any mammogram results in here.’ And she said, ‘I’ve never had one,’” says Hall’s daughter and caregiver, Melissa Congrove. “So we scheduled one right away.”
Hall received her results on Friday, the 13th of May. The spot that was discovered on the mammogram was removed in June. That’s when Hall’s surgeon, Christin Spahn, MD, gave them the good news — Hall’s cancer was Stage 0.
“We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to hear Stage 0 after her very first mammogram at 73,” Congrove says. Hall’s oncologist, Ganapathy S. Krishnan, MD, hematologist and medical oncologist at Adena Cancer Center, wasn’t surprised by the results.
“Screening has come a long way, and we’re able to pick up small lesions much earlier these days,” he says. “Catching them early means the cure rate is higher, and treatment is easier.”
Immunotherapy destroys tumors, restores hope
Richard Tippie was pretty much out of options. Four years ago, after he had spotted what looked like a pimple on the side of his ear, he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer.
After surgery to remove part of his ear, Tippie underwent 25 rounds of radiation therapy. But the cancer returned, and it was starting to grow into his skull. The doctors then recommended 25 more rounds of radiation plus chemotherapy. But the cancer was stubborn.
Fortunately, Tippie’s care was being overseen by J, a medical oncologist at Adena Cancer Center who was a strong proponent of immunotherapy.
One of the newest treatments is immunotherapy, which works with your immune system to help fight cancer — and in some cases, to fight the sides effects of other treatments.
These drugs — such as Keytruda®, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of melanoma, a form of skin cancer, in 2014 —help the body’s immune system destroy cancer cells.
Just two months after the drug was approved by the FDA for treating melanoma, the team at Adena offered it to Tippie. After just two doses of the medication, Tippie’s wife, Gretchen, noticed the tumor was shrinking. After three doses, the tumor was completely gone — and it hasn’t returned in the two years since.
“It’s great to be cancer-free,” says Tippie, who turns 87 this year. “I didn’t think I’d still be here, but I’m very glad I am.” Keytruda has since been approved by the FDA for the treatment of squamous cell lung cancer.
A Summer to Remember
Adena Health System Clercial Associate sees care from the other side
They say life can change on a dime. Mary Conley knows all about that. The 57-year-old Chillicothe resident went for a routine mammogram on a Wednesday in mid-May. She had a biopsy Thursday. And she had a breast cancer diagnosis by the following Monday.
“That week was overwhelming. With all that I was taking in, my mind was exploding,” she says.
While she was processing her diagnosis, her surgeon, medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist at Adena Cancer Center wasted no time in mapping out a treatment plan tailored to her needs. Conley and her physicians decided upon lumpectomy (surgery to remove the part of the breast that contains the cancer), which she had in June, followed by six weeks of radiation, which she completed the last week in August.
Some might view it as a summer to forget. Conley prefers to think of it as a summer to remember. “I value family and close friends more,” she says, adding that due to the quick action of Adena Cancer Center, her treatment is now behind her and survivorship is in front of her.
Adena Saved My Life
Lung Cancer Patient Shares His Story
While visiting Adena Regional Medical Center, Lewis Robinson, Pike County native, overheard a nurse discussing the free lung cancer screening program with another patient. “My father died of lung cancer,” said Robison. “Since the disease runs in my family I thought, well the screening is free, I should sign-up.”
Entering its fourth year, Adena Health System’s free lung cancer screening program has become a national model for excellence and has saved lives, including that of Robinson. Since it began in Nov. 2014, almost 3,000 people have been screened. Of those, 32 have been diagnosed with lung cancer.
While finding out results can be scary for some, Robinson, age 76, said “It is better to find out now than not at all.”
The no cost lung cancer screening provides a simple, painless, low dose, non-invasive CT scan for people at high risk for lung cancer and identifies tumors or lesions, which may need medical attention.
Not only did lung cancer run in Robinson’s family, Robinson worked as a painter for most of his life and was a regular smoker, putting him at high risk for developing lung cancer.
“I was very impressed with how quick Adena got me in for my CT scan, and how fast the appointment actually went,” he said. “After the screening, the nurse called me with in two days, wanting to set-up an appointment to discuss my results.”
As a result from the screening, Robinson was diagnosed with Stage 1 lung cancer and stage 3 kidney failure, something he would have never known. “I was referred by the care team to Dr. Alex Wilson, a Radiation Oncologist, at the Adena Cancer Center,” he said. “At first I was nervous and scared of the unknown or what was to come, but after the first round of radiation, I was relieved at how simple it was and was even able to go back to work that same day.”
Robinson completed five short rounds of painless radiation therapy, which he says, “saved his life.”
“The treatment I received at the Adena Cancer Center was great,” he added. “The staff always made me feel extremely comfortable and the facility was very nice. Dr. Wilson was exceptional and I couldn’t have asked for a better doctor.”
Today, Robinson is currently cancer free and has quit smoking. He enjoys chopping wood, relaxing at home, spending time with family and golfing, all things he said he wouldn’t be able to enjoy if he had waited to get screened or had never been screened at all.
“I am so thankful I found out I had cancer in the earlier stages,” he explained. “If I would have waited, the cancer would have taken over my body, my kidneys would have failed and I would not live the life I am today. Adena saved my life.”
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