October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and we are celebrating one of our own: Angie Voyles, BSN. Angie, a nurse in our Cardiology/ Neurology unit, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 at age 35. She noticed skin changes on her breast and went to her doctor for a routine checkup. Treatment for her Stage 1 cancer called for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. By January 2015, she was cancer free.

Angie, an NKCH employee, helped lead the hospital's 2015 Race for the Cure team.

Angie, an NKCH employee, helped lead the hospital’s 2015 Race for the Cure team.

But Angie’s remission was short-lived. In June, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 cancer, and it had spread to her lymph nodes. Currently, she is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Faith and support from coworkers and family continue to help Angie cope. “The encouragement I get keeps me going and gives me the energy to bring awareness to breast cancer,” Angie says.

She put that energy toward helping lead North Kansas City Hospital’s Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City Race for the Cure team last month. The team included 135 hospital employees, family members and friends. In the week leading up to the event, employees raised an NKCH record $2,225 to fight breast cancer. “Race for the Cure is not about the pink or the commercialism,” Angie says. “The race encourages us to remember the people we’ve lost to breast cancer, honor the women going through treatment and recognize the survivors.”

“Cancer humbles you as a person,” she adds. “I try to be positive and embrace the good things in my life. For example, I know my experience with cancer has helped me relate better to my patients.”

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

  • New lump or mass
  • Swelling of all or part of the breast
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)