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Breast Cancer Survivorship

Among the first of its kind in the country, our breast cancer survivorship services offer help with many aspects of your life, from nutrition to issues related to quality of life. Following a diagnosis of breast cancer, we help you answer, “What’s next?”

We believe surviving cancer begins the day of diagnosis and continues every day after. If you are newly diagnosed, we work closely with your care team to help navigate your care and provide access to supportive services. If you have completed treatment, we help you maintain your overall health and well-being.

Comprehensive services

Recent and long-term impact of breast cancer treatment is covered by most insurance plans and includes:

  • Education on your treatment options for breast cancer and possible short- and long-term effects
  • Identifying and managing complications
  • Menopausal symptom management
  • Education about and access to clinical trials
  • Monitoring for cancer recurrence
  • Monitoring your breast health, including mammograms and screenings
  • Energy balance consultation
  • Evaluation of the psychosocial issues related to breast cancer
  • Fertility preservation
  • Genetic counseling and testing
  • Assessing and managing your treatment side effects
  • Risk assessments for related heart health issues
  • Risk assessments and education for family members

Energy balance program

Weight gain is a common side effect of cancer and its treatment. Up to 60% of survivors gain weight. Individuals who maintain a healthy weight are more likely to live cancer-free long after diagnosis. This is why losing excess weight and maintaining a healthy weight are so important. Our team has expertise in cancer survivorship and can provide support and resources for behavioral and lifestyle changes aimed at a healthy weight and safely increasing physical activity.

Some of the causes for weight gain after breast cancer include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Decreases in metabolism after menopause
  • Decreased physical activity

Our breast cancer survivorship services include a registered dietitian who specializes in cancer prevention and survivorship, as well as a clinical health psychologist with expertise in behavioral and lifestyle change. They are available to help you develop a healthy lifestyle. This includes an initial visit and follow-up appointments.

We also offer a 6-month energy balance program for women interested in losing weight in a group setting. The groups comprise 10 to 15 breast cancer survivors. Individuals interested in participating in one of our clinical weight loss studies should review our research opportunities.

Quality of life counseling and support

Breast cancer is associated with physical and emotional side effects that often require additional support. We understand the importance of addressing your psychosocial health needs and believe this support is an essential part of each person’s cancer experience.

With experts in psychology, social work and patient navigation, we can assist you and your family through diagnosis and screening, treatment and posttreatment care.

Fertility preservation

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the decisions you need to make. One important decision that is often overlooked is the effect that cancer treatment can have on fertility.

For those who want to be able to conceive after they complete treatment and are in remission, The University of Kansas Health System is one of few in the country that provides comprehensive fertility preservation services. We are the only facility in the region that offers tissue freezing (ovaries and testicles) and serves children and adolescents who may be going through cancer treatment.

We offer same-day/next-day appointments for cancer patients. We also perform a baseline fertility examination pre- and posttreatment to evaluate your current fertility and anticipated fertility following treatment.

Our services include:

  • Egg freezing: In egg freezing, eggs are retrieved and cryopreserved for transfer to the uterus at a later time.
  • Embryo freezing: With embryo freezing, fertilized eggs are cryopreserved and banked for postponed implantation.
  • Ovarian tissue freezing: The outer layer of an ovary contains a large number of immature eggs. With ovarian tissue freezing, a part of an ovary or a whole ovary is surgically removed and cryopreserved.
  • Ovarian transposition: Irradiation of the pelvic area can result in the loss of ovarian function.This surgical procedure moves the ovary out of the radiation field and can be done through open surgery or by laparoscopy.
  • Sperm banking: Our male fertility preservation services include sperm banking and cryopreservation of testicular tissue. With sperm banking, a semen sample will be frozen and stored. At a later date, the sample can be used for artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization.

Under our care, you’ll receive services tailored specifically to your needs. We work together with your oncology care team throughout the fertility preservation process, consulting with them regularly.

We also offer access to clinical research studies for patients undergoing testicular or ovarian tissue cryopreservation through the Oncofertility Consortium, a national initiative to explore the reproductive future of cancer survivors.

Routine care

Regular appointments are an important part of your follow-up care. These allow us to:

  • Assess your current quality of life, including mood, sexual health, fatigue, lymphedema and weight management
  • Discuss fertility concerns and refer you to our fertility preservation specialists if needed
  • Discuss treatment-related side effects of breast cancer, including menopausal symptoms, bone health and hormone imbalance
  • Identify whether you have risk factors for cardiac disease and refer you to our cardio-oncology clinic if needed
  • Monitor for recurrent breast cancer or new primary cancers
  • Provide a physical exam
  • Work with you on adherence to antihormonal or other long-term therapies

To receive these services, you must be released from your treating oncologist. This means your cancer physician needs to tell you that you have completed treatment and are no longer under active surveillance.

Request your appointment today.

To make an appointment at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, call 913-588-1227.

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