Staying One Step Ahead of a Cancer Diagnosis

By on August 27, 2019

Because The Outer Banks Hospital (TOBH) has proven its ability to solve complex community health challenges, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) and Pfizer have awarded a grant that will help the Outer Banks community move one more step ahead of cancer.

Titled “BRCA Screening—Early and Often,” the grant focuses on bringing genetic testing and genetic counseling for breast cancer to the Outer Banks. (BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the best-known genes linked to breast cancer risk.)

Why is genetic testing important? We know that detecting cancer as early as possible offers the best chance for a positive outcome. Many of us are proactive and have annual mammograms; however, a common misconception is that if the screening is clear, everything is okay. But there may be a gene lying dormant that cannot be detected by a mammogram. Of course, just because the gene is present doesn’t mean that cancer will develop, but knowing the gene is there can be life-saving information.

The process of genetic testing begins with the mammogram. The radiologist does a quick survey with the patient to ask about their health history and that of their family. Those answers help rate the risk for or predisposition to breast cancer, which may or may not prompt the option of genetic testing.

Genetic testing involves a saliva test for the patient, and it takes approximately a week to receive the findings.

“This grant offers us the opportunity to merge genetic testing with our current screening practices, which along with counseling, will give our patients the information they need to make informed decisions about their health,” said Robin Hearne, RN, TOBH director of cancer services.

Family heritage and incidence of cancer within a family offer key insights. “For instance, we know that ovarian cancer is related to the BRCA gene; therefore, it is now standard to test patients for that gene after they’ve been diagnosed,” said William Guenther, MD, TOBH oncologist. “If the gene is present, that means it may be present in other biologically related family members who also might want to consider genetic testing.”

“Traditionally, this type of testing along with genetic counseling hasn’t been readily available,” Guenther added. “We want to take care of this community, so if we can determine that a person is at greater risk for breast cancer, we can step up their level of surveillance.”

Leading the Way

“As the first in the Vidant Health system to manage those who are at greater risk for breast cancer, our oncology team will be utilizing processes that are really only in practice at larger institutions,” said Hearne, “We’ll be sharing our findings and processes with the other Vidant community hospitals so that this type of screening is available to others in Eastern North Carolina.”

The grant also offers the opportunity to gather more data about what may cause cancer. “While our incidence of cancer is not higher than the national rate, the proportion of familial clustering of breast cancer is higher, which means this is a great population to study for the role of genetics and environmental factors,” said Charles Shelton, MD, TOBH radiation oncologist. “Being awarded this grant is a nice recognition of our program and more importantly our team’s dedication to ultimately reducing mortality from breast cancer on the Outer Banks.”

Brainpower and Experience on Your Team

Twice a month, about a dozen team members from The Outer Banks Hospital and Medical Group, Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, East Carolina University Pathology, and Eastern Radiology, gather for the Breast Tumor Board meeting. “It’s a huge benefit for our patients,” said Charles Shelton, MD, TOBH radiation oncologist, “because we have all the experts in the same room discussing every breast cancer case before, during, and after treatment. It offers the combined experience and knowledge of a proven team and results in better coordinated care for our patients.”

The Outer Banks Hospital Breast Tumor Board consists of team members from: The Outer Banks Hospital and Medical Group: Christina Bowen, MD; Daniel Dwyer, MD; Angela Goetsch, OTR/L, CLT; William Guenther, MD; Aaron Haigh, MD; Robin Hearne, RN; Joseph Jenkins, MD; Beverly Jones, RN; Angela Matthews, RN; Charles Shelton, MD; Theresa Smith, RN; Amy Robinson, MPT, CLT; Courtney Williams, RN Chesapeake Regional Healthcare: Antonio Ruiz, MD East Carolina University Pathology: Richard Baltaro, MD; Peter Kragel, MD; Gina Murray, MD Eastern Radiology: Tiana Crawford, MD; Erika Griffin, MD; Bryan Jordan, MD



Dare County Animal Shelter

Sealed bids for completion of the Dare County Animal Shelter will be received on February 11, 2020, in Dare County Administration Building, 954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo, NC, for 01-Fencing, 03- Concrete, 04-Masonry, 05-Metals/ Steel, 06-Casework, 07-Roofing, 07-Caulking, 08-Glass and Glazing, 08-Doors, Frames and Hardware, 08-Overhead Doors, 09-Drywall, 09-Flooring, 09-Painting, 10- Specialties, 12- Furnishings, 21-Fire Protection, 23-Mechanical & Plumbing, 26-Electrical, 31-Sitework and 32-Landscaping.

This project will be bid and awarded in accordance with North Carolina law. Sealed proposals from Contractors will be received until 1:00 p.m. All bidders must submit for prequalification by 2:00pm on 1/24/2020. Bids submitted by non-prequalified bidders will not be considered. All bids will be opened and read aloud starting at 2:00 p.m. of the bid day. Bids must be delivered in person and on the supplied Bid Form and include a bid deposit worth 5% of the total bid value. Electronic and faxed bids will NOT be accepted or reviewed. All times are local prevailing times.

Information requests concerning the project shall be submitted in writing to: Alex Palagyi of The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company via email (

Bidding material, prequalification material, and complete plans and specifications may be obtained from theWhiting-Turner Building Connected site and will be available until the bid due date. All subcontractors are responsible for emailing Alex Palagyi (alex.palagyi@ for access to the Building Connected site.

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and Dare County reserve the right to reject any and all bids, waive informalities and irregularities in bidding, and to accept bids which are considered to be in the best interest of the County. The Whiting Turner Contracting Company and Dare County also reserve the right to require any bidder to submit information needed to determine if said bidder is responsible within the meaning of N.C. Gen. Stat. 143-129.


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