Discover Hope

Stephanie's Story: Overcoming Cancer with Help from UC Health

In spring 2014, allergies sent Stephanie Poplin, 37, to physicians who put her on a number of medications that just weren’t working.

“I finally went to an allergist in January who ordered an allergy test and some blood work, and they referred me to an ear, nose and throat doctor for the lymph node,” she says. “He gave me a CT scan which showed that I had cancer. I was shocked and devastated.”

Poplin, an Ashland, Kentucky resident, was referred to Yash Patil, MD, associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the UC College of Medicine, a head and neck surgeon and a member of the UC Cancer Center, who confirmed the diagnosis via needle biopsy.

After a scope, a tissue biopsy and a PET scan, doctors had some good news: The cancer had not spread. Better news: Her chances were great, with a 75 to 95 percent cure rate.

Her team of physicians at the UC Cancer Center, who included Patil, John Morris, MD, oncologist and a professor at the UC College of Medicine, and William Barrett, MD, a radiation oncologist and director of the institute, decided that chemo and radiation therapy were the best course of action for Poplin.

“Dr. Barrett and Dr. Morris are great to deal with on a personal level,” says Jason, Stephanie's husband. “They always make time for you no matter how busy they obviously are.

“I had my last treatment, and I’m doing great,” Stephanie says. “I can breathe through my nose and finally taste food. I’m just so thankful.”

The Poplins also mention that Bernice Klaben, PhD, assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and a licensed speech-language pathologist, worked with Stephanie on her speech, tongue and jaw range of motion as well as swallowing exercises.

“We talk about the UC Cancer Center constantly. Everything here has been so wonderful. The people are so helpful and friendly, the physicians are truly experts in their field and everything is laid out for you here—there’s no confusion about which physician you need to see or where you need to go. It’s a true team of doctors who coordinate for the best care of the patient. I thank God we came to UC.”