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Check Up 13: After breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, Fishers woman seeks to help other patients

Jane Ann Steiner is encouraging women to get annual mammograms and plans to pay forward what she's learned.

FISHERS, Ind. — Jane Ann Steiner and her husband, Keith, walk up to three-and-a-half miles a day around their Fishers neighborhood.  

She hopes with consistency, they'll be back to the four-to-six miles they walked each day before she was diagnosed with cancer.  

She'll never forget getting the news.

"It was awful," Steiner said. "I was in tears for weeks because when you get a cancer diagnosis, you think 'I'm not going to make it. I'm not going to survive.'"

But then, she pivoted, embraced a positive attitude and vowed to do everything her medical team told her to do. They mapped a plan that included chemotherapy, surgery and then, radiation.

Steiner started with chemotherapy and lost her hair. She realized she'd have short hair for up to two years.  

"It grows five inches every six months, so I ordered eight wigs," Steiner said. 

Some were $13 dollars on Amazon, while others were pricier. Steiner even picked out one with a white streak for Halloween she calls her "Cruella de Vil look." Learning how to care for the wigs helped her pass the time.

Credit: WTHR
Jane Ann Steiner hopes to get back to her usual four-to-six-mile daily walks with her husband, Keith, following her breast cancer diagnosis.

Steiner is home isolating because her immune system is compromised. To overcome being alone during the days, she started hosting distanced porch-visits with friends Barbara Baumgartner, Paula Peterson, Robin Sawyer and more.

"The first time I came over, she modeled her wigs for us," Baumgartner said.

They catch up on what's going on in the neighborhood and their families. The levity and camaraderie boost Steiner's spirits. 

She's still amazed that she sensed something was off in her left breast. When she went to the doctor, the breast cancer discovery was actually made in her right breast. Tiny specks, like grains of salt on her mammogram, signaled a problem.

Doctors ordered a biopsy, and more tests and discovered the Stage 1 invasive lobular carcinoma, an early stage of breast cancer.

"Her prognosis is very good, yeah, very good, and I think she will go on and do just fine after this," said Steiner's surgeon, Dr. Kristen Govert. "If we find things when they're very small, we're able to do small surgeries, and patients go on and do just fine afterward. It's when we find things on physical exam, then, they are larger and tend to be more advanced, and then, the outcomes are not as good."

After finishing her treatment, the Steiners plan to get their steps in on the deck of a big cruise boat. In the meantime, she is encouraging women to get their annual mammograms and plans to pay forward what she's learned.

"There have been women that have had breast cancer before me that have helped me through this and consoled me and gave me good advice [and] told me what to expect," Steiner said. "I'm going to pass that on and help women in the future to do the same thing."

Click here to learn more about scheduling a mammogram for $175 as this month's Check Up 13 initiative. To qualify, you must be 40 or older and not have had a mammogram in the last 12 months.

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