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Breast Center at Shawnee Mission Medical Center

Kansas City’s First Accredited Breast Center

Open any newspaper or women’s magazine, or turn on the radio or television, and chances are you will read or hear something about breast cancer. It’s not surprising, since breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. However, it is very treatable, especially when caught early. That’s why being proactive about your health, including regular self-examination, a routine physical exam and mammograms are all recommended for the early detection of breast cancer.

The Shawnee Mission Health Breast Center was established at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in 2001 to provide coordinated, patient-focused care across the continuum of a woman’s breast health needs. This guide will walk you through every step at the Breast Center, whether you’ve just turned 40 and are ready for your first mammogram or have been diagnosed with breast cancer. We’re here to make your experience as quick, accurate, comfortable and stress-free as possible, from screening to diagnostics and, if needed, to treatment and beyond.

For more information about the Breast Center, call 913-676-2220.

Do You Have a Family History of Breast Cancer?
A family history of breast or ovarian cancer may increase your risk of developing cancer. The Breast Center, in collaboration with the Shawnee Mission Cancer Center, offers genetic counseling to help you figure out the connection between your family’s genes and your risk of a disease. The counselor gets facts about your family and your health. Testing can be the next step. It could help you to understand your own situation and make decisions to reduce the chance of getting cancer.

For more information on the hereditary risk of breast cancer, call one of our genetic counselors at 913-632-9162.

What if an Abnormality is Found on my Mammogram? 
Eight to 10 percent of women get called back for further testing after a mammogram. Don’t be alarmed if this happens. If this is the case, one of our nurse navigators will call you to explain what is recommended and help you schedule the test(s).

Nurse navigators in the Breast Center are Registered Nurses who have special training in breast health. They are available to answer your questions and help “navigate” you through the sometimes confusing and complicated health care system. They will help assure that you receive excellent care in a timely manner.

If an abnormality is found, the radiologist will likely recommend additional imaging tests which may include one or more of the following:

Diagnostic Mammogram

Unlike a screening mammogram that images your entire breast, a diagnostic mammogram focuses on a specific area(s) in your breast that the radiologist wants to look at more closely. The radiologist will view your images while you are here and you will be given the results before you leave.

Ultrasound is an imaging test that sends high frequency sound waves through your breast and converts them into images on a viewing screen. The ultrasound technologist places a sound-emitting probe on the breast to conduct the test. There is no radiation involved. 

Ultrasound is not used on its own as a screening test for breast cancer. Rather, it is used to complement other screening tests. If an abnormality is seen on mammography or felt by physical exam, ultrasound is the best way to find out if the abnormality is solid (such as a benign fibroadenoma or cancer) or fluid-filled (such as a benign cyst). It cannot determine whether a solid lump is cancerous, nor can it detect calcifications.

Breast MRI

MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a technology that uses magnets and radio waves to produce detailed cross-sectional images of the inside of the body. MRI does not use X-rays, so it does not involve any radiation exposure.

Breast MRI has a number of different uses for breast cancer, including:
  • Screening high-risk women (women known to be at higher than average risk for breast cancer, either because of a strong family history or a gene abnormality)
  • Gathering more information about an area of suspicion found on a mammogram or ultrasound
  • Monitoring for recurrence after treatment.
What if the doctor recommends a biopsy?
A biopsy is the removal of breast tissue that is then examined under a microscope by a pathologist. It’s important to remember that just because your radiologist requested a biopsy, it does not mean you have breast cancer. In fact, most biopsy results are not cancer.

The Breast Center utilizes several methods of needle biopsy, and your radiologist will determine the best method for you. Because the area of the breast is numbed with local anesthesia, biopsies are relatively painless, and you get to go home shortly after the procedure.

Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy
If an abnormal breast mass is detected on the breast ultrasound or a breast lump is found, a radiologist can use ultrasound guidance to pinpoint the mass and take samples for further study. There are two methods of ultrasound-guided breast biopsy. In one method, called a core needle biopsy, samples are collected by way of a spring-loaded biopsy needle. Another method, a vacuum-assisted biopsy, applies vacuum pressure to pull tissue from the breast through the needle into the sampling chamber. 

MRI-Guided Vacuum-Assisted Breast Biopsy 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses powerful magnetic fields and advanced computer technology to produce specific images of the breast. Using MRI guidance to pinpoint the mass, vacuum pressure is used to pull tissue from the breast through the needle into the sample chamber.

Stereotactic Biopsy
Much like an MRI or ultrasound-guided biopsy, a stereotactic breast biopsy relies on special imaging to place the biopsy needle at precisely the site of the abnormality. In this case, a specialized mammography machine, similar to the mammography unit used for diagnostic screening, is used. X-rays are taken from different angles to help guide the radiologist’s instruments to the site. Using a vacuum-assisted device, samples are obtained and sent to a pathologist for diagnosis.

Surgical/Incisional Breast Biopsy
Most breast biopsies are done with special needles using image guidance as described above. Sometimes a needle biopsy is not possible due to the location of the suspicious area in the breast or other factors. In these cases the biopsy is done by a surgeon in an operating room. Before surgery, a wire-localization or needle localization procedure is usually done if the abnormal area in the breast was first detected on imaging tests (such as a mammogram) and cannot be felt. The surgeon will use local anesthetic to numb the area that will be biopsied and you will also get IV sedation (rather than general anesthesia). These procedures are done in an outpatient setting and you will go home the same day.

What if I’m diagnosed with breast cancer?
Surgery is usually the first line of attack against breast cancer. Your surgeon will discuss with you the best surgical option for your diagnosis. Decisions about surgery depend on many factors. You and your doctor will determine the kind of surgery that’s most appropriate for you based on the stage of the cancer, the characteristics of the cancer cells, and what is acceptable to you in terms of your long-term peace of mind.

Shawnee Mission Cancer Center

There are 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. today. What does that mean for you? It means you have more treatment options today than ever before. It means your chances of survival are better than ever before. It means there is hope.

At SMH, you can expect a quick, yet comprehensive approach to your breast cancer treatment. Shortly after your diagnosis, information about your breast cancer diagnosis will be reviewed at a weekly Breast Cancer Conference, where a multidisciplinary team of physicians meets to study each case in depth, from pathology reports to whole health issues, and beyond. Your physician will then meet with you to discuss your options for treatment and establish a plan of action.

For more information about the Shawnee Mission Cancer Center, call 913-632-9100. 

The breast cancer experience doesn’t end with treatment. Quality-of-life issues, including physical, psychological, social and spiritual challenges often accompany a diagnosis of breast cancer. The SMH Breast Center offers help in addressing these issues through a variety of programs.

Breast Cancer Connection Support Group
Breast Cancer Connection is a circle of support, education and empowerment. The group meets the second Tuesday of each month from 6-7:30 p.m., in the Tapestry Room located within the Center for Women’s Health at Shawnee Mission Medical Center.

Every session is facilitated by a nurse navigator who introduces a new topic of discussion. No registration is necessary, and there is no charge to attend. For more information, call 913-676-2498.

Cancer Rehabilitation

Physical therapy during, and following, cancer treatment promotes physical function, decreases fatigue and increases psychological well-being. Our Cancer Rehabilitation Program offers survivors one-on-one treatment with a licensed physical therapist who specializes in oncology rehabilitation.

Physical and occupational therapists are also available to treat lymphedema, a type of swelling of the arm, trunk or breast that may occur after treatment for breast cancer.

For more information about the Cancer Rehabilitation Program, call Therapy Specialties at 913-676-2444.

Holistic Care

When it comes to comfort and healing, some cancer survivors desire more than conventional medicine has to offer. At Shawnee Mission Holistic Care, Megan Schlick, ND, applies a whole-person approach to care, recognizing the roles the mind, body and spirit have in health and healing. Integrating the knowledge of conventional Western medicine with complementary therapies is the focus. Achieving
your optimum well-being is the goal.

For more information about Shawnee Mission Holistic Care, call 913-632-9860. 

Santé Image Renewal Boutique and Salon

Santé, named the French word for “health,” is Kansas City’s premier destination for women who have been affected by cancer, medical challenges or other physical changes.

The products, solutions and services offered include:
  • Licensed salon services; head shaves and trims and cosmetic consultations
  • Wigs, hats, scarves and head wraps
  • Specialized skin care products
  • Mastectomy bras and prostheses, and post-surgical camisoles
  • Products for lymphedema patients
  • Juzo® compression stockings and socks
  • Swimwear and swim forms
  • Educational materials.
Staffed by a licensed cosmetologist and a certified mastectomy specialist, you can expect to receive skillful service delivered with compassion. Santé is located on campus of SMMC at 9301 W. 74th Street, Suite 200, Shawnee Mission, KS 66204.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 913-632-9800.

Camp Bluebird

Camp Bluebird is a special retreat for adults 18 and older who have been diagnosed with cancer. Held twice a year in the scenic rolling hills near Parkville, Mo., the three-day, two-night getaway offers fun, fellowship, education and networking with fellow cancer survivors. Highlights include horseback riding, massages, themed parties, crafts and hot meals daily.

Counselors are members of the Shawnee Mission Health cancer team and its affiliates. Physicians, chaplains, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, care associates and volunteers are on hand to offer support and information.

Learn more about Camp Bluebird. 

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Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66204
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