Breast cancer care in the Greater Kansas City area
Learning you have breast cancer can be an overwhelming experience, but you don’t have to face it alone. The breast cancer specialists at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute of HCA Midwest Health provide highly personalized cancer care that addresses your unique needs as you progress through diagnosis, treatment and survivorship.
We offer a wide range of services, including advanced therapies and treatments, to ensure you have access to the high-quality cancer care you deserve. In addition to medical treatment, our staff focuses on your emotional well-being throughout your care, providing support every step of the way.
We know you have questions, and we can help you answer them. Call askSARAH at (816) 448-7737 to learn more about our breast cancer care.
Breast screening and diagnostic services
Not every woman with breast cancer will experience signs or symptoms, which is why getting your annual mammogram is so critical. Mammograms help us identify cancer early, when it is most treatable.
Sarah Cannon at HCA Midwest Health recommends beginning annual mammograms at 40 years old (earlier if you are considered to be at high risk). Mammography often identifies breast cancer before any physical symptoms develop, aiding in early detection. Your best chance of finding breast cancer early is through a combination of regular mammograms, routine breast exams by a healthcare professional and personal awareness of changes in your own breasts.
Our breast care centers throughout the Kansas City region offer a full spectrum of breast imaging services. We are committed to improving access to breast screening for women throughout our communities.
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer
It is important to conduct regular breast self-exams to assess any changes in your breasts. You should look for the following:
- Discharge from the nipple, not associated with breast milk
- Irritated or dimpling skin
- Lump or mass under your arms
- New lump or mass felt in the breast tissue
- Painful nipple or nipple turning inward
- Redness on the breast or nipple
- Rough and scaly texture on the breast or nipple
- Swelling on a part of your breast
Diagnostic services for breast cancer
If an abnormality is identified by a breast self-exam, clinical exam or mammogram, diagnostic tests will be performed to identify if breast cancer is present. Finding an abnormality does not automatically result in a breast cancer diagnosis.
Diagnostic tests we perform include:
- Needle localization (performed before breast biopsy or breast surgery to pinpoint the location of a breast abnormality)
- Breast biopsy services (removal of a small sample of breast tissue for diagnostic laboratory testing)
- Surgical breast biopsies (surgical removal of a portion of the breast mass)
- Ultrasound-guided breast biopsies (sound waves produce images of breast structure to help locate a mass for biopsy)
- Minimally invasive stereotactic breast biopsy (mammography technology pinpoints the location of an abnormality during biopsy)
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy (identifies if breast cancer has spread beyond the original tumor and into the lymphatic system)
We use multiple methods of localization to mark cancerous lumps or masses before the day of biopsy or surgery. These markers help our breast surgeons easily identify the area being biopsied or removed during surgery.
Four HCA Midwest Health hospitals are Accredited Breast Centers recognized by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC): Centerpoint Medical Center, Menorah Medical Center, Overland Park Regional Medical Center and Research Medical Center. This accreditation is awarded only to those facilities that provide the best possible comprehensive care to breast cancer patients.
Compassionate care throughout your breast cancer journey
Whether you had a suspicious result on a screening mammogram or are coming to us after a breast cancer diagnosis, we are here to support every patient battling breast cancer. As a part of the Sarah Cannon network, our patients benefit from a variety of specialized services, including:
- Molecular profiling: tailor your cancer treatment on a molecular level
- Personal nurse navigators: cancer can be overwhelming, our nurse navigators guide you through every step
- Access to clinical trials: the latest cancer treatments, with the support of a national cancer network
- Connection to community resources, outreach services and educational opportunities so you remain supported and informed throughout your care
- Innovative treatments: that not only help you conquer cancer, but maintain your self-confidence
- A comprehensive wellness program: focusing on exercise, nutrition and emotional well-being which can help reduce many side effects, lower your risk of recurrence and may improve your chances of survival
Treatments for breast cancer
Not everyone receives the same treatment for breast cancer. Your care will be built around your genetic makeup, tumor location, breast size and other medical factors. We provide a wide range of services, so every person can receive the personalized support they need. Our treatments include:
- Chemotherapy (medication used to shrink or destroy breast cancer cells)
- Scalp-cooling treatment (helps prevent hair loss associated with chemotherapy treatment)
- Radiation therapy (beams of high-energy radiation used to kill breast cancer cells)
- Image-guided high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy (internal radiation source that uses a higher dose of radiation and minimizes treatment time)
- Targeted internal radiation treatment, called brachytherapy, following a lumpectomy
- Radiation delivered via catheters directly to the site of the tumor
- Radiation technology that adjusts beams to remain on a tumor as a patient breathes
- Breast surgery (surgical removal of tumors and breast tissue)
- Minimally invasive techniques, including robot-assisted technology
- Hidden scar surgery (places the incision in a hard-to-see location, leaving no visible scar)
- Tumor profiling (personalized medicine that customizes the treatment strategy based on a patient's unique genetic profile)
Breast cancer surgery
Surgery is the most common form of breast cancer treatment. Your surgeon or breast surgical oncologist will work with you to discuss your options based on your unique cancer, treatment concerns and goals. They may recommend a mastectomy (complete breast tissue removal) or a lumpectomy (partial breast tissue removal).
Sarah Cannon at HCA Midwest Health offers leading-edge techniques for breast cancer surgery and a full range of procedures, including:
- Breast reconstruction (referrals to a plastic surgeon to reconstruct a natural breast appearance)
- Lumpectomy (breast conserving surgery where only the tumor and a small margin of healthy tissue is removed)
- Traditional lumpectomy (removes only the tumor and a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue)
- Lumpectomy with an oncoplastic closure (breast reconstruction or lift is performed at the same time the tumor is removed)
- Hidden scar lumpectomy (majority of breast tissue remains intact and a surgical incision is made either in the crease underneath the breast, armpit or along the edge of the areola)
- Mastectomy (complete removal of the breast tissue, typically recommended for women with large tumors, with multiple tumors or at a high hereditary risk)
- Total mastectomy (complete removal of the breast tissue, most of the skin and nipple)
- Skin sparing mastectomy (breast tissue and nipple are removed but breast skin remains intact)
- Nipple sparing mastectomy (entire contents of the breast are removed but the skin and nipple remain in place)
- Hidden scar nipple sparing mastectomy (breast tissue is removed but the nipple and skin are left intact)
Candidates for hidden scar surgery
For some women, their scar may be an empowering sign of conquering breast cancer. For other women, however, it can have an effect on their self-confidence, intimacy and body image. That's why we offer additional options for breast surgery that allow us to place the surgical incision in a location that is difficult to see. When the incision heals, the scar is not visible.
Not every patient is a candidate for the hidden scar technique. It depends on the breast's size and shape and the tumor's location. Other factors are considered, as well. You may be a candidate if:
- You do not currently have breast cancer but have a family history of the BRCA gene
- You have non-invasive breast cancer
- Your nipple does not contain cancerous tissue
- Your tumor is small and does not lie directly beneath the nipple
Lymphedema occurs when lymph fluid does not correctly drain. This causes a buildup of fluid, which leads to swelling. Lymphedema may result for certain patients around the site of their cancer treatment. As part of our cancer rehabilitation program, we provide lymphedema treatment that focuses on reducing swelling.
Additional support resources
We take cancer wellness seriously during treatment for breast cancer. Our Wellness and Breast Cancer Guide explains how to maintain your health during cancer treatment through diet and exercise. To learn more about breast cancer and resources available in our community, visit one of the following reputable sources:
- American Cancer Society
- Cancer Action Kansas City
- Cancer Programs | American College of Surgeons
- Gilda's Club Kansas City
- Susan G. Komen
About Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute
HCA Midwest Health is part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare. Our family of hospitals provides comprehensive cancer services with convenient access to cutting-edge therapies for people facing cancer in our communities. From diagnosis to treatment and survivorship care, our oncology expertise ensures you have access to locally trusted care with the support of a globally recognized network.
Have cancer questions? We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially trained nurses are available 24/7, and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (816) 448-7737 or chat online at askSARAHnow.