Image of woman feeding goats on farm

Robotic Surgery Helps Shelly Haney Return to Her Happy Place

In 2021, Shelly Haney was thrown a curveball she wasn't expecting.

At age 67, she was experiencing post-menopausal bleeding. "It surprised me," admitted Shelly. "But more than anything, it was inconvenient because I was beyond that stage of my life."

It had been a while since she saw the gynecologist, so she scheduled an appointment for a checkup. Since post-menopausal bleeding is a common symptom of endometrial cancer, Shelly’s gynecologist referred her to gynecologic oncologist Leona Chang, DO, FACOOG, with the Penn Medicine | Virtua Health Cancer Program.

"After an exam and additional tests, I confirmed that Shelly had endometrial cancer," said Dr. Chang. "Shelly needed a total hysterectomy, and she was a good candidate for a robotic procedure. When robotic surgery is feasible for patients, it provides faster recovery, a lower risk of infection, and less pain and scarring."

Pain Free One Day After Hysterectomy
"Dr. Chang is an excellent surgeon, but she also calmed my nerves about surgery and reassured me that I would be OK," said Shelly. "I was so scared of having pain, but the surgery was a piece of cake. I spent one night in the hospital and left pain-free with only a few tiny incisions."

Shelly recovered from surgery for about three months before returning to her job with Burlington County Meals on Wheels. She also felt good enough to return to her happy place—Muddy Paws Farm Rescue in Southampton—where she's a weekly visitor for the goats, horses, and other animals. Shelly did not require additional treatments for her cancer.

"I wasn't expecting a cancer diagnosis, but I did what I needed to treat it and be a healthy example to my daughter and granddaughter," said Shelly.

Expertise in Robotic-Assisted Surgery
Virtua’s advanced surgery program includes clinical teams who have performed thousands of robotic-assisted procedures and specialize in cancer care. Virtua’s robotic surgical expertise includes colorectal, gynecologic, urologic and thoracic procedures, as well as hernia repair and bariatric surgery.

To connect with the gynecologic cancer experts at the Penn Medicine | Virtua Health Cancer Program, call 856-247-7310.

Updated December 21, 2022

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