texas oncology more breakthroughs. more victories

Business & Professional Women in Austin: Kimberly Loar, M.D., FACOG

Publication: The Jewish Outlook

What kind of profession are you in and how did you get into this line of work?

I am a gynecologist with board certification in obstetrics and gynecology. I attended medical school at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and graduated in 2001 followed by residency training at University of Florida Health College of Medicine Jacksonville. After spending three years in private practice in Ann Arbor, Mich., my family relocated to Austin. Here in Austin, I was part of a busy obstetrics and gynecology practice for 11 years before joining Texas Oncology in September 2020.

I have known since high school that I wanted to be a physician. I chose obstetrics and gynecology because I was very interested in a surgical specialty and passionate about women’s health specifically. Obstetrics and gynecology is a great mix of primary care, procedures, and surgery. Not many people can say at the end of each day that they truly made a difference in several peoples’ lives; but in the obstetrics and gynecology field, I can.

What sets you apart from others in your field?

I am the first benign gynecologist to join Texas Oncology in Austin. Benign gynecology is an interesting and needed niche in the oncology world. At Texas Oncology, I will be leading the dysplasia division focused on pre-cancer conditions such as abnormal Pap smears, conducting prophylactic risk-reducing surgery for high-risk (BRCA-positive) patients, and helping those high-risk patients manage menopause. I am also bringing new in-office capabilities to Texas Oncology’s Austin practice such as pelvic ultrasounds and procedures to remove abnormal tissue from a woman’s cervix known as LEEP.

What inspires you in your career?

I am inspired by the strength of the women I treat. I have taken care of women from all walks of life, many of those individuals for more than a decade. I helped them in their struggles with infertility, pregnancy, major surgeries, and menopause. I am continually amazed at their resilience. The best part of my day is catching up with my patients, seeing pictures of their kids, and acting as their confidante.

What career advice would you offer others considering this profession?

Like most things that are worthwhile in life, this career takes many years to get started and never really gets easy. You have to be willing to spend many nights away from your family and never really clock out. You also have to be prepared to listen actively and compassionately when someone breaks down in tears one moment, and then run to the operating room to concentrate on completing a difficult surgery successfully in the next. It is never dull and extraordinarily rewarding.

What do women need to know about evaluating their risk and screening for gynecologic cancers?

Women should never miss an annual exam. I have diagnosed thyroid, breast, cervical, and ovarian cancers all from a simple annual exam. Screening exams can diagnose cancer at the earliest stages, when treatment will be the most effective.

Women should have a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer every three years beginning at age 21 and not before, regardless of whether they have received the HPV vaccine. Women aged 30-65 should continue to have a Pap test and DNA HPV test every five years Women over age 65 should discuss her previous test results and the risks and benefits of screening with their physician.

Women should check their breasts monthly for lumps or masses; skin changes such as redness, scaling, or dimpling; nipple discharge; or other changes. Women age 40 and older should discuss individual risk factors with a physician to determine recommended timing and most appropriate screenings, including an annual mammogram, an annual clinical breast exam, and annual MRI screening.

Screening recommendations are for women with average risk. It is important to discuss with a physician your individual risk factors, including age, menopausal status, and family history to determine your screening needs.

If you could give women one piece of advice or information that would help them in relationship to the work you do, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to have genetic testing done if you have a strong family history. Individuals should be aware of their cancer risk, which may be higher for those with a personal or family history of cancer, or certain genetic profiles that have been associated with specific cancer types.

Women with a family history of breast, ovarian, and/or other cancers should consider evaluation by a genetics counselor. For those with genetic predispositions, we can establish breast and ovarian surveillance programs or prepare for risk-reducing surgery.

Don’t be afraid of risk reducing surgery either. Robotic surgery has revolutionized the field of obstetrics and gynecology with less invasive techniques and faster recoveries. And we will be there with you at every step.

Read the full story at The Jewish Outlook.

Related Physicians