A Family Fight Against Colorectal Cancer

Leonardtown, Maryland — Children expect to share many memories with parents as they grow older. What they never plan to share? Diagnoses of cancer — or pre-cancer, in Janet Langley’s case.

Janet, 46, began experiencing stomach pains last summer. She saw multiple doctors to puzzle out what was causing them before arriving at the office of U.K. Shah, MD, board-certified gastroenterologist at MedStar Shah Medical Group. Dr. Shah ran multiple tests to ascertain the source of her discomfort.

“At the same time I was experiencing this, my father had similar symptoms,” said Janet, of Solomons. “He went in for a colonoscopy and found out he had colon cancer. I had a colonoscopy myself just to make sure that had nothing to do with what I had going on.”

Janet (patient) with JCRegarded by many adults as an uncomfortable but necessary rite of passage, colonoscopies are procedures in which a clinician uses a flexible instrument to examine images of the colon and rectum. This view can reveal swollen and irritated tissue, ulcers, and polyps — common growths involving the lining of the bowel.

An estimated 15 to 40 percent of adults may have polyps, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), and most are not dangerous. However, some polyps will turn cancerous over time — and removing them can help prevent colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

Testing revealed a large polyp in the bend of Janet’s colon. Due to its location, it could not be removed during the colonoscopy or an additional procedure known as a polyp resection.

Janet was referred to Tushar Samdani, MD, colorectal surgeon at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. Dr. Samdani was simultaneously treating Janet’s father, J.C. Tubbs, for colorectal cancer.

For those at average risk, colorectal screenings are recommended to begin at age 50 by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. At 46, Janet — with no known history of colon cancer until her father’s concurrent diagnosis — would not have been flagged for testing.

Janet had surgery to remove the polyp in 2018. A biopsy confirmed it was an adenoma — a precancerous growth.

“If I had waited, it would have definitely been cancer,” said Janet. “And I feel very fortunate because I probably would not have followed up attempting to remove the polyp if my dad hadn’t been going through the same thing. I would have procrastinated, and it’s a good thing I didn’t.”

“Around 10 to 20 percent of patients who develop colorectal cancer have other family members who have had it. Patients with a history of colorectal cancer in a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) are at twice the increased risk,” said Dr. Samdani. “The risk is even greater if the relative was diagnosed when they were younger than 45, or if more than one first-degree relative is affected.

“It is important that patients with colorectal cancer or even precancerous (adenomatous) polyps inform their close relatives so that they can talk with their doctor about starting screening at an earlier age,” he continued. “With regular screening, colon cancer can often be found early when it is most likely to be treated successfully.”

Today, Janet and J.C. are both doing well. They will continue to undergo regular screenings to monitor any polyps that may develop.

“The colonoscopy itself was simple compared to the preparation for it,” said Janet. The cleansing process necessary to ensure a clear view during a colonoscopy can be challenging for patients, but Janet said the discomfort is “well worth it.”

“If I could convince somebody to just get beyond that preparation, the rest is just to breathe,” she continued. “It’s all worth it if you consider what could happen if you didn’t catch a problem in time.”

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Visit MedStarStMarys.org/Colon to learn more about the risk factors for colorectal cancer, including recommended screenings.

The Vape Debate: This New Trend May Be Riskier Than You Think

The e-cigarette market has been on fire the past few years. With nearly 500 brands and 7,700 flavors of e-cigarettes on the market, according to the American Lung Association, these electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are sparking renewed interest and debates around the use of tobacco products and the harmful effects of nicotine.

“We feel that it is important to educate the community on the potential harms and risks of vaping,” said Angela Cochran, director of Chronic Disease Prevention & Control for St. Mary’s County Health Department. “As the research evolves we continue to gain more knowledge on how e-cigarette use affects our health.”

In 2015, the Health Department created the VapeAware awareness campaign to help provide the latest information on this trendy smoking alternative. It also works with the Tobacco Free Living Action Team of the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership to improve tobacco-related health outcomes in the county.

“The Health Department works on reducing the use of all forms of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes,” Angela said. “We try to focus on population-level strategies such as including e-cigarettes into smoke-free indoor air policies and restricting youth access to e-cigarettes in retail settings.”

What is particularly disturbing is the trend among adolescents and teens. According to the Maryland 2016 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 42 percent of teen respondents in St. Mary’s County had tried electronic vapor products within the 30 days prior to taking the survey. 

“Recent reports are showing substantial evidence that e-cigarette use increases the likelihood youth and young adults will eventually begin using combustible tobacco cigarettes,” Angela said. “Despite the popularity of e-cigarettes, we continue to promote awareness through a comprehensive tobacco control program that focuses on prevention and cessation of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, among youth.”

Know the Health Risks

New studies are also showing that e-cigarettes are not as harmless as many would like to believe. Although not as toxic as smoking regular cigarettes, use of ENDS still comes with many risks including exposure to nicotine and other aerosols which are known cancer causers.

“Research on this is still pending in a few areas because long-term effects haven’t had a chance to be studied,” said Pam Laigle, BSN, RN, PCCN, clinical leader of the Grace Anne Dorney Pulmonary & Cardiac Rehab Center. However, research has discovered other effects on the cardiovascular system as well as new evidence of what is called ‘popcorn’ lung, a serious and irreversible lung disease. “Anything other than breathing oxygen,” said Pam, “essentially is not good.”

Visit MedStarStMarys.org/Tobacco for more information on the Grace Anne Dorney Pulmonary & Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, the risks of tobacco use, and smoking cessation resources.

What is Vaping?

Electronic nicotine delivery systems, which include e-cigarettes, vape pens, e-hookahs, e-cigars, personal vaporizers, and electronic pipes, use a battery to heat liquid that contains nicotine, flavorings, and additives, which are inhaled into the lungs.

Know the Risks

► Exposure to Nicotine: Nicotine is highly addictive and adversely affects the heart, reproductive system, lungs, kidneys, etc., and may increase the risk of certain cancers.

► Exposure to Aerosols: Aerosols may contain harmful substances including cancer-causing chemicals and tiny particles that reach deep inside the lungs.

► Increases Risk of Using Other Tobacco Products: For teens and adolescents, serves as a gateway to using combustible cigarettes.

► Poisoning: Accidental exposure to even small amounts of liquid nicotine – as little as a teaspoon - can be fatal to children and a slightly larger amount could kill an adult.

► Burns: Batteries can explode causing severe injury.

More Than Skin Deep: Frequent Checks Important for Early Cancer Detection

Skin cancer doesn’t always look like trouble. 

Though most of us would know to seek a medical opinion over a suspicious mole, other patches may not seem questionable at all. That’s why regular skin checks — through self-exams, as well as appointments with your family physician or dermatologist — are important. Basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer, frequently looks like a flesh-colored, pearl-like bump, or raised reddish patch that might be itchy. They can also appear to be flat, firm, pale, or yellow areas, similar to a scar, or pink growths with raised edges. These can develop anywhere on the body after years of frequent sun exposure or indoor tanning.

Suspicious areas can also look like dry, rough, scaly patches or spots that may be flesh-colored or pink-red. Known as actinic keratoses, these spots usually appear on areas prone to frequent sun exposure: the neck, head, hands, and forearms, according to the American Cancer Society. People with one actinic keratosis often develop many more. These spots could stay the same, clear up on their own, or develop into squamous cell carcinoma, so seeking a professional opinion is key.

Red firm bumps, scaly patches, wart-like growths, sores that heal but then come back — these could be indicative of squamous cell carcinoma. The rims of the ears, neck, back, face, arms, and chest are frequently affected by these growths, which can develop deep in the skin and spread to other areas of the body.

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, usually develops in a mole or suddenly appears as a new dark spot on the skin. “Most people have moles, and almost all moles are harmless,” states the American Cancer Society. “But it’s important to notice changes in a mole — such as its size, shape, or color — because that may be a sign that melanoma is developing.”

“Regardless of your skin suspicions, catching them early is very important,” said Temeria Wilcox, CRNP, a board-certified family nurse practitioner at MedStar Health Primary Care at East Run Center in Lexington Park. “Because basal cell carcinoma, in particular, can invade the surrounding tissue and grow into the nerves and bones, preventing permanent damage starts with doing regular skin checks, keeping appointments for routine physicals, and seeing a doctor right away with any skin concerns.”

When doing a self-exam, note your standard birthmarks, moles, and other blemishes, and have a partner help inspect hard-to-reach areas like your back and neck. Regular exams are especially important for those at a higher risk of skin cancer: people with reduced immunity; those who have had skin cancer before; and people with a strong family history of the disease.

“Be aware of your normal pattern of moles, freckles, and blemishes,” Temeria advised. “Checking your own skin frequently can help find many skin cancers early, when they are easier to treat. Your doctor can work with you as a part of your routine physical and overall wellness.”

Visit MedStarStMarys.org/SkinCheck to learn more about skin health.

What to Look For:

The A, B, C, D, Es of Melanoma

___________________________

A- ASYMMETRY

One half is unlike the other half.

B - BORDER

An irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.

C - COLOR

Varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.

D - DIAMETER

Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.

E - EVOLVING

A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in the size, shape, or color. If a spot changes, itches, bleeds, or is different from others, see your doctor or dermatologist. 

Source: American Academy of Dermatology

Battling Back from Colon Cancer

Virginia Wills had much to celebrate in 2017: her daughter was married and she welcomed her first grandchild. But just about a year earlier, she was beginning a battle to save her life.

In August 2016, Virginia had a colonoscopy and when she awoke from the procedure, the news was not good – her doctor sent her directly to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital due to a large tumor discovered in her colon. She was quickly referred to colon and rectal surgeon Tushar Samdani, MD, with the thought that surgery would soon follow.

“Dr. Samdani ordered a CT scan and it was discovered the cancer had metastasized to my right lung,” said Virginia, of Waldorf. A few days later he informed her that biopsy results showed she had Stage IV cancer. “Literally, it just knocks the wind right out of you,” Virginia said.

Dr. Samdani immediately coordinated care for Virginia and in less than a week, she was beginning chemotherapy. Following six rounds of treatment, she had surgery on her right lung in November at another hospital and approximately a month later, Dr. Samdani removed the tumor in her colon — along with 27 lymph nodes – at MedStar St. Mary’s.

Virginia was 54 when her journey started, had undergone a previous colonoscopy a few years earlier that showed no problems, and had no family history of colon cancer.

“I took my health for granted,” she said. “You never really know how good you feel, until you feel very bad.”

Virginia admits that recovery was not easy. Following the surgeries to remove part of her lung and colon and two rounds of chemotherapy lasting six sessions each, it has taken time to regain her stamina.

“At least I got to go through it, many people don’t get that chance,” she said. “I credit Dr. Samdani — and all of my other doctors — for me being here today.”

And best of all, she was able to celebrate the birth of her grandchild and attend her daughter’s wedding.

“It was such a wonderful affair,” Virginia said, “in so many ways.” 

On the Rise in Younger Patients  

Dr. Samdani says about 10 to 15 percent of his colon cancer patients are younger than 50, the recommended age many people have their first colonoscopy.

“Many times younger patients are not properly diagnosed,” he said, “often because this is the age they want to do a lot of other things and they neglect their own health, and they are not referred by a primary care physician.”

Anyone having symptoms such as bleeding from the rectum, change in bowel movements, or weight loss, should make an appointment with their physician or a gastroenterologist, he said.

“The truth is, no one wants to get a colonoscopy, it is not a pleasurable experience, but it could save your life.”

Couple Finds Compassionate Care at Hospice House

When Diane Haderly’s cancer returned, she chose not to undergo treatment to extend her life, but instead wanted to spend her last few months traveling and enjoying life with her husband, John.

Upon removal of a tumor on her pancreas and completion of six months of chemotherapy, everything seemed to be fine for Diane Haderly. She felt great. After all, the Lexington Park resident beat breast cancer 17 years ago. This time around she wasn’t as fortunate.

A follow-up scan showed the cancer had spread. Diane discussed her options with John, her husband of 38 years. She could undergo an even more intense treatment or do nothing. The treatment could extend her life a few months, but Diane decided it wasn’t worth it.

“It came down to quality of life,” said John, recalling the toll the six months of chemo took on Diane. “She always said if she ever got really sick, she wanted to die at Hospice House.” So the couple went to Hospice House, learned about hospice services and chose her options for care. Being terminal, Diane was eligible for hospice care immediately, although she felt great. In fact, in the beginning, John said Diane would answer the door and the hospice nurse would ask to see the patient while Diane answered, “I am the patient.”

Diane and John sailed and traveled in their motorhome during their time together. They visited their blended family of five children and eight grandchildren, discussing Diane’s decision and what she wanted in addition to celebrating family occasions. Thanks to their hospice connection, John, a retired Navy officer with no medical training, always felt confident should they ever encounter an emergency while traveling. “Whenever we left home,” said John, “I let hospice know our routes and our destinations. They set up hospice services for us in those areas, although we never had to use them.”

According to Hospice and Palliative Care Interim Director Kathy Franzen, BSN, RN, a great number of patients and their families never discuss end-of-life options. Instead, decisions are crisis based, made under duress in the Intensive Care Center or the Emergency Department. “This places a huge burden on others.” Kathy and her staff ask patients and families “What’s important to you?” to help with decisions about palliative or hospice care. “This question can help with one of the most important conversations of our life,” said Kathy.

If unsure how to begin end-of-life conversations, she highly recommends The Conversation Project website at TheConversationProject.org for several helpful resources. “All of hospice care is palliative care, but all of palliative care is not hospice care at all,” Kathy said. Palliative care should start at the beginning of any serious or chronic illness. To be eligible for hospice, a terminally ill patient with approximately six months to live must have a physician referral.

Just as she wanted, Diane Haderly was at Hospice House for her final days. All of her family, including the dog, were able to come and say their goodbyes. John was so taken with his wife’s care that when his 95-year-old mother-in-law was in a nursing home dying of lung cancer, he arranged for her to go to Hospice House.

Once again, he was grateful for their skill and compassion. As a thank you, John helps care for the baby grand piano in the Hospice House living room, seeing that it stays well-tuned for all to enjoy. Diane loved music and John, a musician, served as the Navy Band’s tour director for most of his military career. “Hospice staff treated my wife, myself and our entire family with dignity,” John said. “They honored Diane’s wishes, provided comfort and support, and made the transition tolerable for our entire family. I’m also proud of our community for building the Hospice House. It’s a gift.”

Visit HospiceofStMarys.org for more information about hospice and palliative care.

Cancer Survivors Community Picnic Sunday, June 4

Free Event Celebrates Cancer Survivors, Family Members, Caregivers

Leonardtown, Maryland (May 31, 2017)MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital will hold a community picnic in conjunction with National Cancer Survivors Day® beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, under the white tent on the hospital’s front lawn. Hosted by the hospital’s Cancer Care & Infusion Services (CCIS), the community picnic will feature a home-style Southern-cooked meal, entertainment and inspirational speakers.

“This event celebrates cancer survivors and those living with cancer, along with their families, friends and caregivers,” said Joan Popielski, RN, BSN, CRNI, CCIS director. “It’s our way to honor them for their courage and support them in their recovery and as they return to a fulfilling life.”

In the United States alone, there are more than 14.5 million people living with a history of cancer. MedStar St. Mary’s is proud to join thousands of communities across the globe each year in honoring cancer survivors and recognizing that life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful and inspiring.

Call CCIS at 301-475-6070 for more information about this free event.

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
MedStar St. Mary's Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

Abnormal Mammogram Results – What Do They Really Mean?

Negativing Breast Health

Cheryl Pauley, RN, CN-BN, left, and Christine Taylor, RN, CN-BN

Christine Taylor, RN, CN-BN, and Cheryl Pauley, RN, CN-BN, have a message for women who are told their mammogram results are abnormal – there is hope.

“Just having a certain reading on a mammogram doesn't necessarily mean a woman has breast cancer,” said Cheryl, who points out that about 80 percent of biopsies results are benign.

Cheryl and Christine recently became certified breast patient navigators. Career nurses, Cheryl has extensive experience in radiology and Christine was an operating room nurse before becoming a care coordinator.

 “Cheryl knows all of the radiology pieces and I’ve been in the operating room and have seen the actual surgery and then recovered those patients,” said Christine. “And as a care coordinator, I am familiar with a lot of resources that can benefit patients.”

Christine said most women are shocked when they receive abnormal results, and they don’t know what questions to ask or what to do next. Having a patient navigator to assist them by offering  education about breast health and procedures, collecting test results, providing information about doctors and other resources, has been shown to help improve patient outcomes.

Some of the greatest challenges patients face may not be medical. Patients might need help with childcare, finances, marital issues and transportation. Christine can also connect breast cancer patients who are uninsured or under-insured to resources offered through the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Pink Ribbon Project.

 “We would both like to encourage women to get their yearly mammograms and follow the doctor’s instructions,” said Cheryl. “If something shows up, don’t be afraid. Early biopsies and early recognition can be life saving.”

Visit MedStarStMarys.org/BreastHealth for more information.

Maryland Woman Beats Cancer With Precision Medicine & Immunotherapy

When Two Areas of Science Aimed at Beating Cancer Come Together

(Washington, D.C.) – A Maryland woman is benefiting from the intersection of two promising fields of science: precision medicine to genetically profile cancer and immunotherapy to unleash the immune system to fight it.

It’s a case her doctors are calling “remarkable.”

Diane Lucey, 49 of Leonardtown, Maryland was living in Georgia in 2014 when she noticed a small bump in her mouth.  The two centimeter tumor was determined to be a rare type of cancer called neuroendocrine carcinoma. She had it surgically removed, received six weeks of radiation and thought she was cancer free. But in the summer of 2016 a scan revealed cancer in her liver and her right lung.  

“It came from out of the blue,” Lucey says.  “I thought I was done with my cancer when it came back.”

By then Lucey was working as a chemist for Calvert County and living in Leonardtown, Maryland. Her oncologist at nearby MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital sent her to MedStar Georgetown where she would have full access to the latest treatments as well as clinical trials through the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“This was a rare disease in a young, healthy person,” says Amir Khan, MD, medical director of Cancer Care and Infusion Services at MedStar St. Mary’s and Lucey’s oncologist.  “I wanted to have her treatment plan formalized quickly and to see if there were other options for her beyond standard therapy, which is chemo therapy.”

Lucey next met with Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and Georgetown Lombardi, the research arm of MedStar Georgetown. “Here at Georgetown, we partner with Caris Life Sciences to perform detailed molecular profiling of patients’ tumors. In Ms. Lucey’s case we sent part of her liver tumor to Caris and found the cancer cells had the right target, PD-L1 expression, that clinical trials have shown make cancers sensitive to certain immunotherapy drugs.”

In October 2016 Lucey began receiving injections of the immunotherapy nivolumab, sold under the brand name Opdivo, one hour every two weeks for 12 weeks. Because Georgetown Lombardi is part of the MedStar system, Lucey was able to receive her treatments closer to home at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital.

Her first scan in January 2017 showed her liver tumor had shrunk by half and the lesions in her lung were shrinking as well.

“My doctors were thrilled and of course I’m thrilled at the results,” says Lucey. “And the best part is that I’ve been able to work and live my daily normal life with no pain or fatigue, no hair loss, no nausea or loss of appetite. Compared to the radiation I had before, this immunotherapy was nothing.”

Born and raised on the Florida coast, Lucey is an avid boater, loves to fish and spend time on the nearby Chesapeake Bay. “I’m at the beach and on the water as much as I possibly can,” says Lucey. “With this treatment I’ve been able to continue to make plans to enjoy the things I’m passionate about including a big fishing trip to Florida with my family this year. I’m also pursuing my other hobbies like golf, restoring old furniture, painting and making jewelry.”

“Ms. Lucey’s case is a perfect example of what those of us who worked on former Vice President Joseph Biden’s Cancer Moonshot believe is the future of beating cancer,” says Dr. Weiner who served on the National Cancer Institute’s blue ribbon panel working group on immunotherapy as part of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

“Of the 13 critical areas we recognized, this case satisfies three: delivering cutting edge cancer care to patients where they live, capturing the benefits of precision medicine to treat the right cancer with the right medication at the right time, and to harness the immune system to control and attack the cancer.”

Nivolumab is FDA approved for advanced melanoma, advanced non-small cell lung cancer, advanced renal cell carcinoma, classical Hodgkin lymphoma, advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and urothelial carcinoma or bladder cancer.

“The only side effect I had was a small rash on my belly, but that went away with a course of Prednisone,” says Lucey.

Side effects, sometimes serious ones, occur in fewer than 10 percent of patients taking immunotherapy. Immunotherapy does not work in all patients.

“Ms. Lucey’s situation is also a great example of how MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute, a network of hospitals linked with clinical and research priorities, uses the resources available at our NCI-designated Comprehensive Center to work collaboratively to provide patients in somewhat distant areas access to the latest advances in world class cancer care. She received tomorrow’s treatments today, without leaving her hometown,” says Dr. Weiner.

“Ms. Lucey is very lucky,” says Dr. Khan.  “Immunotherapy is another tool in the hands of physicians and it will impact some patients more than others. We don’t know how long it will work for her but more and more people are living better and longer with cancer these days.  I wish all my patients could benefit this way.”

Dr. Weiner says research shows that when immunotherapy works rapidly, as in Lucey’s case, the results tend to be more long lasting.

“My daily life is normal.  I don’t think about having cancer.  I just keep living my life being very grateful and hoping for continued good news,” says Lucey.

Meet Your Breast Care Team

When you make an appointment to visit the MedStar Women’s Specialty Center in Leonardtown, our team of doctors and providers experienced in women’s health will make sure you get the care you deserve. With more than 15 years experience working in a multi-provider practice, Angela Borger, DNP, NP-C, has spent the past year focused on women’s health in the same office with fellowship-trained breast surgeon Patricia Wehner, MD. Both belong to the MedStar Breast Health Program at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital and provide women in our community with exceptional service and peace of mind.

Self Exams and Mammograms

When it comes to the facts about breast cancer and managing your own health, both Angela and Dr. Wehner believe that self awareness and understanding the facts are vital risk reducing strategies, along with self exams and getting your annual mammogram. “Mammographic screening recommendations have currently changed and are determined by personal and family history,” said Dr. Wehner, “but all females aged 45 to 55 will need an annual mammogram.”

Detecting a breast lump during a self exam can be scary, but not all breast lumps are cancer. Many people can have abnormalities in their breasts that are benign or non cancerous. However, if a lump is found during a self exam, it should not be ignored and seeing a provider is advised. “A clinical breast exam is the next step in finding out if a lump needs further medical attention,” said Angela, “and mammogram imaging and other testing may be necessary as well.”

At MedStar Women’s Specialty Center, Angela and Dr. Wehner offer comprehensive breast care for women from routine procedures to surgery. Dr. Wehner performs oncoplastic breast surgeries using new techniques designed to minimize changes in the physical appearance of the breast. “With advances in modern medicine, it is easier now to remove a tumor without disfiguring the surrounding breast tissue,” said Dr. Wehner, who brings the latest advancements in breast surgery to our hometown.  

Protecting yourself is simple. Perform routine breast exams at home, visit your provider for annual well-woman exams, which include clinical breast exams, and schedule routine mammogram screenings.

borger-final

Angela Borger, DNP, NP-C, is a certified nurse practitioner and a provider in the MedStar Breast Health Program. She sees patients at the MedStar Women’s Specialty Center in Leonardtown. Angela earned her doctorate in nursing practice and master of science in nursing from Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio. She also holds a bachelor of science in psychobiology & women’s studies from Albright College in Reading, Pa.

 

 

 

wehner1Patricia Wehner, MD, is a board-certified surgeon and an attending physician in the MedStar Breast Health Program. She performs surgeries at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital and MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Dr. Wehner earned her medical degree at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and completed her general surgery training at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, followed by a surgical breast oncology fellowship at the University of Southern California.

 

Checkered Tumblers CMYK

Love Yourself, Get Checked

Mammogram appointments for first time visits and annual exams are available at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. Come in for a scheduled appointment beginning in October and receive a free pink and white Breast Cancer Awareness insulated tumbler, available while supplies last.

Call 301-475-6399 to schedule an appointment.

Breast Health Fair

College of Southern Maryland, Leonardtown CampusPink breast cancer ribbon isolated on white
Located in the Wellness Center – Bldg. D
Oct. 18, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.

MedStar Women’s Specialty Center providers will be offering information and giveaways.

Hospital to Host Cancer Survivors Picnic Sunday, June 5


MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
will hold a picnic in conjunction with National Cancer Survivors Day® beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 5, on the hospital’s front lawn. MedStar St. Mary’s joins thousands of communities across the globe holding celebrations to honor cancer survivors and to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful, rewarding and even inspiring.

Hosted by MedStar St. Mary’s Cancer Care & Infusion Services (CCIS), the lunch will feature a home-style Southern-cooked meal, entertainment and inspirational speakers.

“Our annual picnic celebrates survivors and families and helps show the community that there is life after cancer and it can be fulfilling and rewarding,” said Joan Popielski, RN, BSN, CRNI, CCIS director.

Anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life – is a cancer survivor, according to the National Cancer Survivors Day® Foundation. In the United States alone, there are more than 14.5 million people living with a history of cancer.

Major advances in cancer prevention, early detection and treatment have resulted in longer survival, and therefore, a growing number of cancer survivors. However, a cancer diagnosis can leave a host of problems in its wake. Physical, financial, and emotional hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Survivors may face many challenges, such as limited access to cancer specialists and promising new treatments, inadequate health insurance, financial hardships, difficulty finding employment, psychosocial struggles, and a lack of understanding from family and friends. In light of these difficulties, our community needs to focus on improving the quality of life for cancer survivors.

“This event is an opportunity to celebrate not just the survivors and those living with cancer, but also their families, friends and caregivers,” said Popielski. “We honor them for their courage and support them in their efforts to return to a happy and fulfilling life.”

For more information about this free event, call CCIS at 301-475-6070.

 

Contact: Holly Meyer
Phone: 301-475-6010
Email: [email protected]

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
MedStar St. Mary's Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.