Published on June 04, 2021

LMH Health implements tool to identify lifetime breast cancer risk

When you schedule your next mammogram, you have another tool to prevent breast cancer – a lifetime breast cancer risk assessment. The LMH Health Women’s Center works hand in hand with LMH Health Imaging and the LMH Health Cancer Center to deliver this enhanced program to identify lifetime breast cancer risk. We’re dedicated to providing comprehensive breast and cancer care services close to home.

“As a regional destination for progressive, integrated cancer care, we work with patients to identify their breast cancer risk. Making sure all women have access to comprehensive breast care is critical in the fight against breast cancer,” said radiologist Dr. Richard Kuckelman. “This clinical insight allows us to develop and deliver the personalized treatment each patient needs to ensure their very best outcome.”

Thanks to support from generous donors, you’ll have access to the most powerful and up-to-date technology with LMH Health’s 3D mammography machines. This type of imaging helps radiologists find more cancers than a standard digital mammogram.

At Lawrence Breast Specialists and the LMH Health Cancer Center, our goal is to ensure that every woman age 40 and up has affordable access to regular screening mammograms and diagnostic mammograms when necessary. This includes providing financial assistance options for low-income women who are uninsured or underinsured. To learn how to receive a voucher to cover the cost of your mammogram, contact LMH Health Patient Accounts at 785-505-5775.

Prior to your mammogram, you’ll work one-on-one with a mammography technologist to complete a risk assessment form. Our team will review your risk assessment form to determine your lifetime risk for breast cancer. We look at a number of factors to determine your risk, including your age, height, weight, breast density, family history and any previous genetic testing results for the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes.

“One out of eight women get breast cancer. The majority of women who have a risk that’s under 20% should continue to perform breast exams once a month and have a mammogram once per year after age 40,” said Dr. Jennifer Hawasli, a surgeon with Lawrence Breast Specialists. “Using these tools allows us to detect cancer at an early stage and make sure we do everything we can.”

Women with a 20% or greater lifetime risk for developing breast cancer will receive a referral to Lawrence Breast Specialists for an evaluation and consultation. The clinic, located at the LMH Health West Campus, is part of the LMH Health Women’s Center, an interdisciplinary patient-centered setting with specialized staff focused on finding answers and delivering peace of mind.

“If your risk assessment shows that you’ve got a higher risk, we’ll sit down with you face-to-face and discuss the things the technologist went over. We’ll verify the score is accurate and use a tool that looks at four other lifetime risk calculators to get a better overall picture of your risk,” she said. “Once we have that number, we can discuss all of the options we have here for you.”

Following a consultation with Dr. Hawasli, you may be referred to the LMH Health Cancer Center for additional care. The center was accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC) in 2020, becoming one of just eleven other hospitals in Kansas with this distinguished recognition of our commitment to high-quality care through the exceptional protocols, treatments and outcomes in place.

Through the LMH Health Cancer Center, you’ll have access to a cancer prevention program, enhanced breast imaging, such as an MRI, and breast exams twice per year, alternating with visits with Dr. Hawasli and an NCI-trained medical oncologist, providing personalized care across 98% of all cancers.

If you’re at high risk for breast cancer, you may qualify for genetic testing, which looks for mutations in certain genes that are known to be linked to cancer.

“Our team follows the guidelines set by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). We’re able to draw the blood right here in our offices to test for specific genes and panels,” said Dr. Jodie Barr, an NCI-trained oncologist with the LMH Health Cancer Center. “We essentially offer everything here that’s offered in Kansas City. The difference is that you stay close to home for coordinated, efficient care with a personal touch and the answers you need.”

If a positive gene is detected, you may undergo genetic counseling. This offers you the opportunity to talk with a genetic counselor who will guide you through the process. You’ll get personalized information about your cancer risk, learn if others in your family should be tested, what your results mean and what your next steps should be.

“We’ll continue to follow you and provide recommendations about what to do after a positive result,” Dr. Barr said. “If you do need cancer treatment, the LMH Health Cancer Center tailors treatments for each patient based not only on the disease type but also the genetic makeup specific to their cancer. You don’t have to travel far from home to receive exceptional care.”

Contact the LMH Health Women’s Center at 785-505-3800 to schedule your mammogram.

Autumn BishopStory by Autumn Bishop

Autumn is the marketing manager and content strategist at LMH Health.

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LMH Health implements tool to identify lifetime breast cancer risk