Brandy Zwicker has a passion for serving others in the community as well as through her tenured career as a Registered Nurse. She has worked in the areas of medical, oncology, cardiac telemetry, critical care step-down, primary care, Director of Nursing, and Quality Assurance Manager. Brandy advocates living a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise.
Brandy Zwicker explained, “The health of the bodies and vascular system are affected by many things like stress, substance abuse, and genetics, but the main offenders of conditions and disorders are obesity, poor dietary habits, having high blood sugar levels, chemical, and toxin overload, and living a sedentary lifestyle.
“Individuals should talk with their physician about the right exercise plan for them. Most people can benefit from taking a brisk 30-minute walk or a 30-minute swim. Exercise increases circulation, improves nutrient and oxygen-rich blood flow and helps you build strength and to lose weight. If you can work out harder, it’s extremely beneficial to get your heart rate up daily with cardiovascular exercise.”
“There have been significant studies on the benefits of water activities for individuals that suffer from cardiac diseases and disorders. These cases have proven that the level of oxygen in the blood increases in water, which is ideal for most vascular issues.” Brandy Zwicker continued, “The oxygen consumption (VO2) is three times greater in water than on land. Working large muscle groups leads to this uptake of oxygen or VO2 but doing a lot of running and legwork on land increases the heart rate at a higher level than with water-based therapy. For obvious reasons, maintaining a lower heart rate is ideal for those suffering from any heart ailments.
“If you are sick, suffering from stress or chronic conditions, stress reduction through yoga or meditation, along with the right exercise, diet, supplements, medications and lifestyle changes, an increase in overall health is achievable.”
Brandy Zwicker has five children and enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, and outdoor fitness opportunities. She enjoys working out to include running, spin cycle, yoga, weight training, basketball, and indoor rock climbing. Brandy hopes to compete in fitness competitions eventually.
Brandy Zwicker looks forward to many more years within the healthcare industry, and she’s arranging her schedule to attend a university to pursue her Doctor of Nursing Degree with plans to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.
Registered Nurse (BSN), Brandy Zwicker has worked in the areas of medical, oncology, cardiac telemetry, critical care step-down, basic care, Director of Nursing, and Quality Assurance Manager. Brandy Zwicker is an ambassador for lung cancer awareness. Brandy told us, “Lung cancer statistics remain high. However, even though over 230,000 new lung cancer diagnoses are made annually in the US, nearly 531,000 people today, have at some point in their lives been diagnosed with lung cancer, and yet they are alive and well with zero remission. This is predominantly because it was caught early through lung cancer screenings.”
Three main types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer, and lung carcinoid lung cancer.
Lung Cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type, affecting nearly 85% of those with
lung cancer. Fortunately, this form of carcinoma usually grows at a slower
rate. There are three subsets that makeup NSCLC, Squamous, adenocarcinoma, and
Small Cell or Oat:
Cell cancer affects nearly 10% of the lung cancer population and spreads very
affects about 5% of those with lung cancer. It grows very slowly and rarely
Smokers & Non-Smokers
Smokers are, of course, at higher risk of developing lung cancer. Nonetheless, the stereotype that often coincides with a lung cancer diagnosis is that patients are assumed to have smoked. But the stark reality is that in many cases, lung cancer diagnosis happens to patients that have never smoked a day in their life.
Non-smokers that have lung cancer are usually identified as those that have been exposed to environmental carcinogens like, cleaning products, diesel exhaust, radon gas, asbestos or those with genetic mutations. Research suggests that screening a high-risk population for lung cancer can drastically reduce the number of mortalities
from this disease.
CT Scan Screening
Brandy Zwicker explained, “CT scans of the chest are advantageous in identifying and screening for lung cancer. If detected in the early stages, the treatment options and
outcomes are much more successful. Because CT scans can detect tiny masses in
the lungs, by detecting cancerous tumors at an early stage, an individual’s
survival rate may be significantly improved.”
Lung cancer screenings are crucial for smokers and former smokers, especially those 55-75 years of age. This is due to the prevalence of lung cancer seen in this population. The screenings are also vital for individuals exposed to carcinogens, or those that show signs and symptoms of
Given the advantages of having lung screenings with CT scans, due to the higher resolution and ability to detect very tiny cancer cells, there is a proven reduction in lung
cancer-related deaths compared to those patients tested with X-ray.
Treatment & Recovery
Depending on the stage and type
of lung cancer, there are several treatment options. These include surgery,
chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy, and immunotherapy. Early
detection is imperative for survival rates, health impacts, and recovery.
Brandy Zwicker is a Bachelor of Science (BSN) Registered Nurse with ten years of nursing experience. Brandy Zwicker has a passion for serving others and her career as a Registered Nurse has provided her many opportunities to serve vulnerable populations. Brandy looks forward to many more years within healthcare and plans to attend a university to pursue her Doctor of Nursing Degree with plans to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.
Brandy Zwicker received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) from Montana State University-Bozeman in 2009. She began working in the oncology unit, caring for patients with terminal cancer. Brandy explained, “As a new graduate, I was intimidated to care for patients with terminal cancer diagnoses and end-of-life patients. As I grew in my nursing practice, I grew as a person, and my evolution from a timid nurse to a confident advocate of cancer patients was inevitable. My passion became evident within myself, to those I cared for, and my nursing peers. My heart to serve not only the patient’s medical needs but the patients’ and families’ emotional needs as well has been, unequivocal.”
Over the past decade, Brandy has cared for hundreds of end-of-life-patients, and she feels that it’s a genuine privilege, not just a career. Her father, Gordie, was only 67 when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Advocating for an increased awareness of lung cancer is extremely important to Brandy Zwicker, especially given the fact that according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) CANCER was the second leading cause of death in the United States in 2017 behind heart disease. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women annually.
Brandy Zwicker continued, “As a nurse, I’ve felt just how frightening a cancer diagnosis can be and to consider the consequences of cancer is devastating! Many people are reluctant to go to their doctor for fear of the worst possible diagnosis and may hesitate to seek care. This was true for my dad; hoping for the best while at the same time feeling that nagging fear. I suspected my dad had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) as a result of his smoking history with a strong suspicion that he had lung cancer too. I spoke with him about both on occasion. I asked him if he would go in and have tests to check for both and he would tell me that he would “die” when the good Lord saw fit. It was his fear of the diagnosis that inevitably snuffed out his beautiful life.”
After thinking he was suffering from pneumonia, Gordie was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer; in the hospital for only three days, with his family by his side, he died from this harrowing disease.
Brandy despondently stated, “My dad, Gordon Joseph Suda, is forever lost to this world because of his fear of lung cancer.” Brandy Zwicker was nominated to represent North Dakota in Washington D.C. as a Lung Force Hero, where she asked for additional funding for lung cancer research.
Getting regular cancer screenings is imperative—An Early Diagnosis SAVES LIVES!