news-category: Campus News

GWU Faculty Members Lead Thyroid and Breast Cancer Programs From Survivors’ Perspective

ribbons for thyroid and breast cancer awareness

Offered in September and October, Events Educate About Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment

Dr. Nicole Waters

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Thyroid and breast cancer affects more than 307,000 Americans each year, and two programs in September and October will provide information on prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Sponsored by the Gardner-Webb University College of Health Sciences and Gayle Bolt Price School of Graduate Studies, the awareness events will be led by GWU faculty members who are also cancer survivors. The community is invited to attend both events, which will be available in person and via Zoom.

These sessions will offer vital information, noted College of Health Sciences Dean and Associate Professor Nicole Waters. “Each program will bring awareness to adopting and maintaining healthy behaviors and the importance of screening for a particular cancer—thyroid and/or breast cancer,” she described.

Thyroid Cancer Awareness – Sept. 26

September is national Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, and the first program on Sept. 26 at 4 p.m. will be led by Hunt School of Nursing Associate Director and Associate Professor Dr. Anna S. Hamrick. The event will be held in Room 261 of the College of Health Sciences or join via Zoom.

Dr. Anna Hamrick

“I am honored for the opportunity to share my personal experience as a survivor of thyroid cancer,” she shared. “My experience as a nurse practitioner, nurse educator, wife and mother of two young children navigating a new cancer diagnosis changed my perspective of healthcare. Although I would never choose to have a cancer diagnosis, I do believe what I learned during my journey helps me be a better patient advocate. I am excited to share these lessons learned with future healthcare professionals.”

Hamrick was 32 years old when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2014. Her treatment included two surgeries and radiation with radioactive iodine. She will also discuss the prevalence of thyroid cancer and the signs and symptoms. “I will share the importance of a ‘neck check,’ treatment options, side effects, and prognosis,” she added. “I will also share stories about navigating care and how to advocate for yourself in the modern healthcare system.”

The audience will be invited to participate in a Q&A after Hamrick’s presentation.

Breast Cancer Awareness – Oct. 25

Amy Steele
Dr. Ami Steele

Physician Assistant Studies Director and Associate Professor Ami R. Steele and Hunt School of Nursing Associate Professor Dr. Kathy Williams will present the Breast Cancer Awareness Program on Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. The event will be in Room 261 of the College of Health Sciences or join via Zoom.

As a breast cancer survivor, Steele asserted that she and many breast cancer survivors want to share their stories. “Each one is unique and often reaches someone who relates,” she observed. “For me, surviving became an opportunity to share the hope of Christ, and the signs of cancer for early detection.”

Kathy Williams
Dr. Kathy Williams

Williams said she hopes her participation will encourage others to follow their doctors’ guidance on routine mammograms and health screenings. “I have no family history of breast cancer,” she explained. “However, on the recommendation of my healthcare provider, I always obtained yearly mammograms and was able to have a very early diagnosis and treatment due to this.”

Williams was diagnosed in July 2020, had surgery in August 2020, and received chemotherapy for three months. “I want other women (and men) to realize there are excellent treatments for breast cancer,” she affirmed.

Williams and Steele will close the session with a time of Q&A.   

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-4270 or email [email protected] with your request.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.

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