Hannibal Regional Patient Finds Strength in Second Cancer Diagnosis


Being diagnosed with cancer once can be frightening, but facing a second diagnosis can be utterly terrifying. For Jacquie Vaughn of Hannibal, Missouri, this is reality. Jacquie shares, “Hearing the words ‘cancer’ and ‘biopsy’ is pretty scary stuff. I needed to have a pity party for myself and then just keep on going, taking things one day at a time. Looking at the bigger picture, I knew this cancer was a bump in the road, but I also knew I had great doctors to get me through it.”

In 2019, Jacquie underwent a lumpectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy for breast cancer. Fast forward to July of 2023. Jacquie was scheduled for a routine mammogram, and the results showed an area of concern. Immediately, Jacquie met Radiology Nurse Navigator, Keegan Harvey, BSN who would help guide Jacquie through the diagnosis process. Jacquie was told a breast MRI was scheduled for her to take a better look at the abnormal area. Under the care of her surgeon, Stacey Copeland, MD an MRI-guided biopsy was ordered. This state-of-the-art technology is used when an abnormal area cannot be visualized by a mammogram or ultrasound.

The MRI biopsy confirmed that the area was pre-invasive breast cancer. With the support of Dr. Copeland and nurse navigator Keegan, Jacquie felt at peace with her diagnosis. She learned the cancer was caught early and met with Dr. Copeland to discuss a plan of care. Jacquie was set up with appointments to meet with oncologist Dr. Kevin Palka from the Hannibal Regional Cancer Institute and Radiation Oncologist Dr. Joseph Bean with the James E. Cary Cancer Center. Early in September Jacquie underwent a successful lumpectomy. She began radiation in October and continued to see both Dr. Palka and Dr. Bean.

Jacquie explains, “I had a choice on where I wanted to go for my cancer treatment. I told my family, we have great doctors right here at home, so there is no need to travel elsewhere. It was an easy decision for me to choose to have my treatment at Hannibal Regional. This choice was easier on myself and my family, and it made the process much more comfortable. Dr. Copeland is so kind and compassionate. She worked seamlessly with Dr. Palka and Dr. Bean. Keegan made sure I always had the support I needed and guided me through the entire process. Every doctor, nurse, and tech I saw was absolutely wonderful. They kept things on track for me, and it was less I had to worry about.”

Hannibal Regional Hospital has been designated a Comprehensive Breast Imaging Center by the American College of Radiology. When patients choose Hannibal Regional for breast screenings, they are receiving individualized care from a team of specialists. To learn more about women’s health screenings or to schedule a mammogram, please call 573-248-1300.