Sharon and Shawne's Low Dose Cancer Screening Story

May 29, 2019

Shown are life-long friends, Sharon Fowler and Shawne Jean on a trip to Alaska.

Sharon-and-Shawne It’s not often you hear about peer pressure making a positive impact, but in Shawne Jean and Sharon Fowler’s story, that was certainly the case.

Shawne, a MICU nurse at Princeton Baptist Medical Center, heard about the lung cancer-screening program and decided to participate. Shawne, 62, visited Shelby Baptist Medical Center for the scan, which is a quick, non-invasive, painless process for current or former smokers used to detect lung cancer.

“Early detection was very important in my case,” Shawne said. “I kept getting my annual scans and they were able to find cancer before I began to show any of the symptoms. If I hadn’t been proactive, it may have been too late and I would have had to have chemo.”

Shawne has been a nurse for over 40 years with almost 20 of those years at Princeton Baptist. However, soon she became a patient at Princeton Baptist to have her cancer removed. Now, she only has to go back for her follow up appointments with her physician Dr. Douglas Minnich, thoracic surgeon at Princeton Baptist.

Dr. Minnich is a board certified in general surgery & thoracic surgery and he has participated in multiple clinical trials in the development of both ENB and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in the treatment of early-stage lung cancer. He is one of three thoracic surgeons in the state of Alabama and proudly practices at Princeton Baptist.

Given that Shawne is a nurse at Princeton Baptist and remains a patient of Dr. Minnich’s, his patient-focused care is still evident in tracking Shawne’s progress.

“I tell everybody that I know and everyone that I come in contact with about the screenings,” she said. “My insurance paid for it, the staff was nice and it’s a very quick process.”

In her work, Shawne experiences fearful patients all the time so she understands people may worry getting the scans because, “what if they find something?” As someone whose cancer was caught early and who is now cancer free, Shawne’s response is simply, “And, what if they don’t? You’ll be so thrilled!”

Prior to this experience, Shawne had a back injury that resulted in surgery as well as melanoma found on her face. Following that, she had her cancer removed. Given her journey, she finds it important to share health information with family and friends, including her life-long friend Sharon Fowler.

Sharon, 62, and Shawne have been friends for over 50 years and given their friendship, Shawne knew Sharon could also benefit from the screening, so in the spirit of some positive peer pressure she encouraged her to go.

Not knowing they would find something “suspicious” during her screening.

“They found a nodule, which turned out not to be cancer,” she said. “With my history though, I didn’t want to take any chances so I had it removed.”

Like Shawne, Sharon is a fighter herself after surviving battles against colon and uterine cancer, diagnosed at ages 47 and 60 respectively.

Sharon lives in Jasper so she had her screening at Walker Baptist Medical Center.

“The staff was great,” she said. “It didn’t take long and the nurses were very nice.” Sharon said this screening was important for her and suggests for those that may need it to get it along with their mammogram annually.

Sharon had her nodule removed in February of this year and has been recovering well.

“I’m glad Shawne told me about it and now I am telling other people about it because early detection is so important,” she said.

To learn more about low dose lung screenings, visit


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