Student survives cancer thanks to BYU class

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PROVO -- A BYU nursing student is alive and well thanks in part to a class that helped her discover she had cancer.

Sharla Morgan was studying to be a nurse practitioner. In one class, they learned how to check the thyroid. When Morgan turned her head to be checked, her professor, Sabrina Jarvis, came by and spotted a lump in Morgan's throat. Morgan and Jarvis tell the story in a YouTube video.

"Sabrina walked by at just the right moment to see that something wasn't quite right," Morgan said in the video.

Because Morgan worked at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, she was able to ask a doctor in the operating room where she worked for a diagnosis and a biopsy. It turned out to be thyroid cancer.

Within eight days, Morgan was in an operating room having 27 lymph nodes removed, 18 with cancer in them. That was followed by radiation therapy and some time off of school.

It's been two years since then, and Morgan has a good prognosis. She will graduate from BYU this August and will then work at the Thyroid Institute of Utah, where she was invited to work by the doctor who diagnosed her.

"I just feel that my experience as a patient has helped me understand how they feel, what kind of concerns and questions they have," Morgan said in a statement. "It's been really fulfilling to be able to sit down and talk to them about what my experience was, and it seems to answer a lot of their questions."

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Randall Jeppesen


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