WICHITA – Wesley Healthcare’s new Breast Care and Survivorship Clinic aims to help breast cancer survivors, as well as their family and caregivers, find their own path to navigate the changes and challenges that occur as a result of living with a history of cancer.
Due to early diagnosis and the effectiveness of treatment, the number of people with a history of cancer in the U.S. has increased dramatically from about three million in 1971 to about 14 million today.
Many studies document that survivors of cancer have unfulfilled medical, psychosocial and health needs that follow acute cancer treatment and that these needs are frequently not addressed or managed. A survivorship clinic can help patients gain an understanding about their cancer, their cancer treatments and about the long-term side effects.
“Cancer survivors are at risk for physical and psychosocial impacts from cancer and its treatments,” said Connie Luty, APRN, Wesley family nurse practitioner and certified breast health navigator. “Comprehensive follow up care at a survivorship clinic is so beneficial for these patients and recommended by the American Cancer Society and the Commission on Cancer.”
Luty has spent the last ten years educating and supporting women with a history of diagnosed breast cancer and is passionate about survivors of breast cancer regaining a sense of balance and normalcy, and helping them function at their best physically, socially, mentally and professionally.
“We want to help these patients gain a new perspective on their health and encourage them to adopt a new and healthier lifestyle,” Luty said. “There is life beyond breast cancer treatment, and we are dedicated to making sure patients get there.”
Patients that have completed breast surgery and the acute treatment phase for breast cancer are encouraged to visit the clinic for follow up care. The clinic appointment will include an extensive history and physical as well as a Patient Survivorship Care Plan, which includes information about the patient’s cancer, treatments and healthcare recommendations. Current side effects and potential late side effects are assessed. Nutrition and exercise education is discussed and recommended as it can help to reduce the patient’s risk of second cancer.
Women that do not have a history of breast cancer, but are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer are welcome to be seen in the Breast Care Clinic. Other reasons to visit the clinic include noncancerous breast concerns, or if someone would like to know how to reduce their risk of breast cancer.
The clinic offers appointments Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and is located at 551 N. Hillside, Suite 520. Appointments may include everything from a comprehensive breast exam to care for menopausal symptoms and sexual health management. Most insurances pay for breast care and survivorship clinic services. Referrals can be made through a patient’s primary care physician, their oncologists or as a self-referral.
Earlier this year, Wesley Medical Center was accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC) – part of the American College of Surgeons – underscoring its commitment to providing comprehensive, high-quality, and multidisciplinary patient-centered care. To earn this gold standard for oncology, Wesley met 34 required quality-care standards, proving the hospital is committed to improving the survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education and the monitoring of care.
Wesley also just began offering a new breakthrough treatment option for patients with early-stage breast cancer. The procedure, called intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), is a one-day breast cancer treatment option that offers multiple patient benefits, including added convenience, fewer treatments and reduced costs. Wesley is the first – and only – hospital in Kansas to offer IORT.
For more information about Wesley’s Breast Care and Survivorship Clinic, please call (316) 962-6100. For more information about Wesley Healthcare and its oncology services, please visit www.wesleymc.com.