Open Mics With Doctor Stites 5-3-23

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 32 COVID patients today, 31 yesterday. Other significant numbers:

  • 14 with the active virus, 14 yesterday
  • 2 in ICU, 3 yesterday
  • 0 on a ventilator, 0 yesterday

Key points from today’s guests:

Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer, The University of Kansas Health System

  • There's a lot of science around how hair loss and the removal of breasts in cancer patients affect a patient’s mental health.
  • A study published in JAMA Surgery surveyed 560 women diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 40. Some patients had one breast removed, some had both, and other patients had surgery that only removed the tumor and reserved most of the breast.
  • This cross-sectional study found that patients who had double mastectomy reported the worst impacts on their body image and their mental health.
  • Another study published in Psycho Oncology analyzed 36 other studies on cancer related hair loss. It found that cancer patients consistently rank hair loss is one of the most distressing side effects of therapy. It also found that wearing a hat, headscarf, or wig was one of the most important coping strategies.
  • There's also evidence patients feel better when they encounter counseling support and a personalized care plan including access to prosthetics, wigs and other products to help them feel and look better.

Lizzy Wright, program director & social worker, Turning Point

  • Turning Point has been a program at the Health System since 2001. It specializes in patient support programs and educational opportunities for patients their families dealing with cancer and other chronic diseases.
  • Patients often come to Turning Point with incredible fear and anxiety and uncertainty after getting this significant diagnosis. Turning Point programs significantly help to reduce depression and anxiety.
  • Wright says she sees an ease in her patients after they participate in programs including sessions with other people who are experiencing similar illness.  
  • Programs are run by a licensed facilitator who help patients express their thoughts, feelings, and emotion at no cost to patients.  
  • Quarterly via Zoom, Missys’ Boutique offers educational programs to Turning Point patients on wigs, wig care, breast forms, breast prostheses, and bras to help women throughout their cancer treatment. It’s a wonderful asset to Turning Point programs for patients who need information by specialists.

Judy Newell, appearance center manager, Missys’ Boutique

  • Missys’ Boutique is a special place is named after two women, Missy Malter Newell and Missy Wilcox O’Neill, strong women lost many years ago to breast cancer.
  • At that time, both Missys’ had to go to several places to get the items they needed like bras, hats, gowns, compression garments – as there was no single shop with everything they needed.
  • Their dying wish was to create a place where women like them could go and do one-stop shopping. Thanks to the Health System, enough money was raised to create Missys’ inside the cancer center at Westwood for all our patients in all communities to enjoy.
  • Every person of every culture or color can be taken care of here and Missys’ is very, very proud of that. The boutique works with the patient to find exactly the support or inspiring product they need to feel better as well as services.
  • The goal is to give patients back their self-esteem. We understand and hear what they're going through. Most of the volunteer and paid staff are breast cancer patients, so there is a sisterhood and connection.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control, The University of Kansas Health System

  • The COVID-19 public health emergency officially ends on May the 11th. This week, the White House announced it will no longer require vaccinations for federal employees or international travelers.
  • The important thing to remember is it doesn't mean that the pandemic is over.
  • What the ending of public health emergency means is there will be a reduction in some of these funding avenues as well as access to certain resources.
  • Those people that are at highest risk of disease should be maintaining their booster vaccine status as recommended.  

Thursday, May 4 at 8 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. A woman lost both parents to COVID and is also dealing with the disease herself. Learn more about how she is coping and helping others.

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