Doctor says center will offer help for underserved patients

Women facing advanced stage breast cancer will soon have a new place to turn in Kansas City.

The Saint Luke’s Koontz Center for Advanced Breast Cancer will open later this week. The doctor leading the center said it will help women who have been largely underserved — women who for decades have a faced the most difficult battle.

Lori Lober recalled receiving the tough diagnosis that metastatic breast cancer had spread to her liver and lymph nodes.

“When you’re told you have a 2 to 3 percent chance of survival for five years and you’re 36 years old, that’s just not acceptable,” she said. “It was not acceptable for me, and I don’t want it to be acceptable for anyone else.”

Lober, now a 16-year survivor, said she’s excited about the new cancer. She said she wishes her own path to wellness had been more defined.

“So much of the focus has been on early detection and treatment of women with early-stage disease and this group of women has really been forgotten, in large part,” said Dr. Tim Pluard, of the Saint Luke’s Koontz Center for Advanced Breast Cancer.

Things will be different at the center. The focus will be on patients who are fighting for their lives.

“It does so in a very unique way,” said Pluard. “It combines the latest technology and treatments and access to clinical trials with a very holistic integrative approach, where we utilize nutrition and exercise and other integrative therapies.”

“It’s going to raise a ton of awareness,” Lober said “Just because you’re diagnosed with advanced breast cancer or metastatic breast cancer, it’s no longer a death sentence.”

Lober said she sought out multiple therapies for treatment. She said there is no longer evidence of cancer in her body.

The Koontz Center for Advanced Breast Cancer opens Thursday at Saint Luke’s Hospital north on the Country Club Plaza.

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