Lincoln OB/GYN uses patient history to catch cancer before it kills

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - When you show up for a doctors appointment at Gynecology and Fertility PC, expect to answer a lot of questions.

Nurse practitioner Mary Jane Glade goes over a family history form with Erin Ebeler Rolf, a cancer patient.

"Young breast cancer in your family, ovarian cancer, some of those are the biggest red flags," Mary Jane Glade, nurse practitioner said.

The questions are part of a form every new patient fills out.
It helps doctors determine if the patient is at an increased risk of breast cancer.

Erin Ebeler Rolf is one of those patients.

"It's a gut punch," she said. "There's no way to describe it."

Rolf starts chemo Tuesday. The mom, who is still in her 30's has already had a double mastectomy after an MRI found breast cancer in April 2019, despite having a clean mammogram just two months earlier.

"We caught it when it was smaller than the tip of my pinky, preventative medicine at its finest," she said.

She got that MRI because she checked "yes" on many of the questions on her family history form.

Her sister was also diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age, she has aunts who've had breast cancer and she has a gene mutation that increases her chances.

Her doctor recommended she get an MRI and mammogram each year, in addition to a physical breast exam.

"When you add the breast MRI we can find pre-cancer, changes in the breast and early breast cancer that may not be identified on a mammogram," Glade said.

That MRI is why Ebeler Rolf's cancer was caught at stage one, why she's expected to survive her diagnosis.

"It's odd to think of yourself as lucky, but I really am," Ebeler Rolf said.