Morning Medical Update Friday 5-19-23

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


The University of Kansas Health System is treating a total of 20 COVID patients today, the same as Wednesday. Other significant numbers:

•           7 with the active virus today, 6 Wednesday

•           0 in ICU, 0 Wednesday

•           0 on a ventilator, 0 Wednesday

Key points from today’s guests:

Yolanda Irvin, cancer survivor

  • When Yolanda was first diagnosed with breast cancer, she was getting her care at a community hospital.
  • Her daughter and her family convinced her to get a second opinion, so she went to The University of Kansas Cancer Center, and she believes that decision saved her life.
  • Before she arrived, she didn’t think that the hospital was for her. She had the perception that it was only for “rich people” and was not a place for people in her community.
  • She quickly found they treated her like family and provided better equipment and expertise to pinpoint her diagnosis and provide world-class treatment.
  • In the middle of her breast cancer treatment, Yolanda was also diagnosed with stomach cancer.
  • She said her treatment by the doctors was top notch. They explained the process each step of the way, and they were dedicated to making her feel heard and getting her the care she needed to get back to her job at an elementary school.
  • She is becoming a more vocal advocate in her community about seeking a second opinion. In fact, she is working on the HOPE Center (Healing Opportunities for People Everywhere) in her community, including renovating an old church to become a community center for neighbors to get more information about health resources.

Dr. Jamie Wagner, breast surgeon, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

  • Because of COVID, Yolanda, like many patients, delayed getting regular checkups. When Yolanda finally got to the Cancer Center, her breast cancer was a little more advanced.
  • The Cancer Center has specially-trained breast radiologists, along with protocols about using more advanced equipment, that helped diagnose Yolanda’s cancer and lead to a treatment plan just for her.
  • African American women tend to have higher advanced rates of breast cancer, which is why screening is so important. But Dr. Wagner asks how are we combating this? How are we approaching this in clinic?
  • Dr. Wagner says that access to care for certain communities is a problem. Advocates like Yolanda will help us move forward in getting the word out that we're here for everybody.
  • Across the country, the clinical trials outcomes are being underrepresented by the disparities in access.
  • The second opinion makes such a difference in breast cancer specifically because when patients get a second opinion at an NCI designated cancer center, their diagnosis and treatment can change as often as 43 percent of the time.

Dr. Mazin Al-Kasspooles, surgical oncologist, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

  • Yolanda’s situation was very unique. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer while she was being treated for breast cancer, and the stomach cancer was a very rare type of cancer.
  • The good news: the stomach cancer, while rare, had a more favorable outlook that many other standard stomach cancers.
  • With the expertise and equipment at the Cancer Center, they were confident they’d be able to take care of Yolanda.
  • His team collaborated with the breast cancer team to put the right treatment plan together for her, taking care of the more serious breast cancer first and then moving on to addressing the stomach cancer.
  • Her positive attitude gave her a huge advantage in recovering and becoming cancer free.

Monday, May 22 at 8 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. Brain surgery couldn't remove all of Lisa Webb's tumors, so she became the very first adult patient to get proton therapy at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. Find out how she’s doing now that she has completed her treatment.

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