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Glenna Stoecker vs. Lung Cancer: She’s Winning

In 2013, Glenna Stoecker was hospitalized with pneumonia under the care of pulmonologist Mohammad Siddiqui, M.D., who is affiliated with Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital. Dr. Siddiqui followed her with chest imaging every six months afterward. After noting changes in her right upper lung lobe in late 2015, he ordered a CT-guided biopsy, which revealed pulmonary adenocarcinoma, a common cancer that usually originates in the peripheral lung tissue.

Philip RoscoeDr. Siddiqui referred her to Philip Rascoe, M.D., 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. In early January Dr. Rascoe performed a mediastinoscopy to biopsy 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.

Stoecker, a non-smoker, learned that that she had lung cancer on Jan. 5, 2016.

“I was surprised,” she says. “I never even had any symptoms.”

Nadya Hasham“Because Glenna had stage 3 cancer involving a mediastinal lymph node, we recommended neoadjuvant chemotherapy prior to surgery,” says Nadya Hasham-Jiwa, M.D., 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.”

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 metastasized to the lymph nodes, we removed the entire right upper lobe of the lung and performed a lymph node dissection,” he says.

Theodore Yang After recovering from surgery, Stoecker was scheduled for five weeks of radiation therapy under the direction of radiation oncologist Ted Yang, M.D., who often works with Dr. Rascoe and Dr. Hasham-Jiwa.

“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.”

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. She 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.”