In 2013, 79-year-old Glenna Stoecker was hospitalized with pneumonia under the care of Mohammad Siddiqui, M.D., a pulmonologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital. Dr. Siddiqui followed Stoecker with chest imaging every six months after her hospitalization. After noting changes in her right upper lung lobe in late 2015, he ordered a CT-guided biopsy that revealed pulmonary adenocarcinoma, a common cancer that usually originates in the peripheral lung tissue.
Dr. Siddiqui referred her to Philip Rascoe, M.D., an associate professor of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth who practices at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital.
Biopsy Revealed the Need for Chemotherapy Before Surgery
In early January of 2016, Dr. Rascoe performed a biopsy of the lymph nodes near Stoecker’s trachea, confirming that the disease was present in the nodes, leading to a diagnosis of stage 3 cancer. He brought in medical oncologist Nadya Hasham-Jiwa, D.O., to help with treatment planning.
A non-smoker, Stoecker was shocked when she heard the diagnosis was lung cancer. “I was surprised,” she says. “I never even had any symptoms.”
“Because Glenna had stage 3 cancer involving a mediastinal lymph node, we recommended chemotherapy prior to surgery,” says Dr. Hasham-Jiwa, who is affiliated with Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital and Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital. “After four cycles of chemotherapy over three months, follow-up imaging showed a response to therapy.”
Next Steps: Surgery & Radiation Therapy
Stoecker underwent surgery with Dr. Rascoe at Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital on May 11, 2016. “Because she had residual cancer in the lung that had spread to the lymph nodes, we removed the entire right upper lobe of the lung and performed a lymph node dissection,” he says.
After recovering from surgery, Stoecker was scheduled for five weeks of radiation therapy under the direction of radiation oncologist Ted Yang, M.D.
“I had the greatest team of doctors,” Stoecker says. “I’m so pleased with all of them. The last time I saw Dr. Rascoe, we laughed and talked. It was wonderful. I could call Dr. Hasham-Jiwa anytime I needed help or had questions. I didn’t have to because I made it through really well. All of them are so concerned and caring. I’d recommend Memorial Hermann Southeast to anyone who has cancer.”
Taking an Aggressive Approach to Cure Her Cancer
Despite the fact that Stoecker was 79 years old when she was diagnosed, her oncology team treated her aggressively. “She’s very independent, engaged in activities, has good family support and was otherwise in good condition,” Dr. Hasham-Jiwa says.
“It is important to offer curative treatments to elderly patients who have good quality of life, when we feel they can tolerate it,” adds Dr. Hasham-Jiwa. “Glenna did well, and we were able to give her good results. On her follow-up scan in September, more than a year out from treatment, she remains cancer free.”
To learn more about lung cancer diagnosis and treatments, visit https://cancer.memorialhermann.org.