A tale of two warriors: lessons from overcoming breast cancer
As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, two members of the Georgia Southern community, Angela Landers and Ty White, are sharing their stories and the essential lessons they’ve learned from their breast cancer diagnosis. Their journeys, while unique, highlight the importance of early detection, support systems and resilience in the face of adversity.
Georgia Southern’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee, Student Government Association and Zeta Tau Alpha sorority will host a Pink Walk on Oct. 21 at 8 a.m. By participating, individuals will walk a path around Sweetheart Circle and the athletic facilities to both raise awareness and funds for The Georgia Alliance for Breast Cancer.
“Fundraisers such as the Pink Walk are fantastic ways to show support for breast cancer because the money raised increases access to Georgians for breast cancer education, screenings, and treatment,” Landers said.
When Landers, an assistant director for outreach and community engagement for the Counseling Center, was 31 years old, she discovered an alarming lump in her armpit. After watching her father’s cancer experience, she was determined to seek medical attention. Despite initial dismissals from doctors, she persisted.
This played a crucial role in her early diagnosis. Landers emphasizes the importance of self-advocacy, urging women to persist until doctors take their concerns seriously.
“I immediately knew that it was not supposed to be there,” she said. “The first person that I saw actually really brushed me off and said that it was probably nothing and I just needed to not worry about it. I asked to speak to another doctor… my oncologist told me I would have been dead within a year if I had not advocated for myself.”
She quickly began treatment, and has been in remission for 10 years now.
White, who is a case manager for the Counseling Center, also shares a story that illustrates the significance of early detection. A routine mammogram, prompted by an email from her health care provider, led to the discovery of early-stage cancer. Her quick response to the recommendations made a substantial difference in her treatment.
“The doctor said if you’re going to have cancer, you have the best form of cancer,” she recalled. “But I was very, very nervous. So I immediately started to let my family know. I let my close friends know, and I immediately formed a village because I’m the type of person who has to have a support system around me.”
White has been in remission for a few months, but she admits she still has moments of what’s referred to as “scanxiety.” The National Library of Medicine defines it as, “the distress and/or anxiety occurring before, during and after cancer-related imaging/scans.”
Both Landers and White stress the importance of having a strong support system. Having just moved to Illinois, Landers found comfort in new friends and neighbors who rallied around her during her breast cancer treatment.
“The people who stayed with me physically,” said Landers. “They carved out time and made me feel like it was important to just be with me, even if I felt too sick to speak.”
Both women emphasize the need to embrace life fully, even following a successful breast cancer outcome. They encourage patients to focus on their physical and emotional well-being, not just during treatment but in the years that follow.
White’s commitment to her children fuels her determination to thrive.
“I don’t really hide stuff from my kids,” White said. “My two-year-old would say, ‘Mommy has a boo-boo.’ I like to talk to them.”
The two also offered advice for those who know and love someone experiencing a cancer diagnosis. One of the biggest takeaways was being emotionally interested in what they’re experiencing.
“You may not even have the words to say, but go with her to doctor’s appointments, ask questions and be interested,” White said. “Just show up.”
Posted in Press Releases