Ellen Shaw de Paredes, breast cancer screening pioneer, loses cancer battle

Posted at 6:54 PM, Aug 31, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-31 23:39:38-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond radiologist and pioneer in the field of breast cancer screening has lost her own battle with cancer.

Ellen Shaw de Paredes, 62, died Saturday after complications from endometrial cancer.

Friends said Paredes was more than a doctor, but a friend to hundreds of patients.

"It's a tragic loss, something I can't get my arms around yet," Ruth Murphy, the vice chair of the Ellen Shaw de Paredes Breast Cancer Foundation, said. “She has saved countless lives."

Murphy said Paredes dedicated her 30 year career to helping women.

"I just liked being with her as a doctor and the more I learned about her -- how incredibly well respected she is and how excellent she is -- and what I call magic eyes she has -- I just continued,” said Murphy.

Ellen Shaw de Paredes

Ellen Shaw de Paredes

Dr. Ellen, as some called her, founded the Ellen Shaw de Paredes Institute for Women's Imaging in 2005 because she saw a great need for more advanced breast cancer screenings.

The institute not only offers state-of-the-art technology, including rare 3D imaging, but a staff committed to the emotional needs of patients.

The breast cancer foundation, also in Paredes' name, was created to train other doctors and help low-income women by offering free mammograms and services.

"Even if women fell between the cracks of insurance coverage, she would always find a physician who would do surgery or provide treatment," said Linda Tiller, Executive Director of the Susan G. Komen Central Virginia chapter.

Paredes was diagnosed with an aggressive form of endometrial cancer in May of 2014. She died early Saturday from complications of the disease.

On Sunday, her husband, Victor, wrote an emotional tribute to his wife while friends spoke of the legacy she leaves behind.

"There's no way to fill her shoes but the best way we can honor her is to continue that institute and the work of the foundation, that's the greatest way to honor her,” said Murphy. “She established both of those with the full intention that they would last well beyond her."

Paredes is survived by her husband, sister and mother.

Dozens of people posted on the CBS 6 Facebook page Sunday night remembering Paredes.

"I had to go to her two years ago when I had an abnormal mammogram," Carla Jones wrote" Luckily, it turned out to NOT be a cancer issue. She was so kind & reassuring. So ironic that cancer would be what took her from us all. Prayers & blessings to her family. She was a blessing to so many."

Roxanne Buff wrote that she lost a wonderful friend and advocate.

"She will surely be missed by many. Hoping and praying that her institute will continue to grow and keep her memory and spirit alive for many years to come. We have lost a wonderful, compassionate and passionate woman," Bluff wrote. "Thinking of her family, her staff and ALL of her patients who relied on her expertise for their care. A new saint in heaven who once walked on Earth. You WILL be missed Dr. Paredes."

"She took care of my Mom when she was diagnosed," Cindy Blaha posted. "I never had the honor of meeting her , bit my Mom loved her and was devastated a couple of weeks ago when she was told of her condition. May her legacy continue. My deepest thanks to her family for sharing her with so many. And my most sincere condolences on their loss."