You'll be seeing plenty of pink around town this month as October is devoted to breast cancer awareness, but a pioneering procedure is giving fresh hope to patients.
It's a disease local resident Lesher Antwine is painfully aware of. Antwine was diagnosed with breast cancer just one month ago. Now, she could be the first patient to undergo a new kind of breast cancer treatment.
"I'm still kind of numb. I was really just numb-just like, 'Whoa,'" Antwine said.
Antwine now faces a decision - whether to get a full mastectomy or a lumpectomy to keep as much of her breast tissue as she can.
"I want to preserve as much as I can."
That decision could now involve a treatment called "onco-plastics," a method that brings a plastic surgeon into the process in an effort to reduce the number of times patients have to go under the knife.
"For some patients, it doesn't really matter, but for others, it has a significant impact," according to Dr. Jamie Wagner, Antwine's oncology surgeon, who will be one of those practicing the new procedure at the University of Kansas Hospital.
Antwine says she appreciates the choices.
"If I can stop from having multiple surgeries because it's hard on your body, that's what I'm leaning toward," Antwine told KCTV.
If Antwine opts for the lumpectomy, she could avoid multiple surgeries. She could have her tumor removed and her breast reconstructed all in one procedure. It's something that would give her an even better cosmetic look than past patients, and more.
"Coupling their treatment with a good cosmetic outcome helps them live beyond their cancer and really become survivors," Wagner said. She came to Kansas City from the world-renown M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in the Houston area.
Wagner said onco-plastics can be performed on former patients who aren't happy with the outcome.
And, it's even improved the process for women who choose to get a mastectomy and reconstruction, which could reduce the number of surgeries from three or four to just two.
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