CARMEL, Ind. – The fight against breast cancer in central Indiana is taking a big step forward.
Two new approaches in technology are promising accuracy and efficiency in response to breast cancer.
“I’m cancer-free, so I’m happy and I’m very pleased with my results,” Patient Debby Bush said.
Bush is one of many patients who beat breast cancer with the help of those two new pieces of technology.
The first is called radioactive seed localization. It helps doctors easily locate where cancer is within the breast tissue.
St. Vincent Carmel Women’s Center Dr. Erica Giblin says the previous tactic to locate tumors was much more invasive. The new tactic both improves clinical outcomes and improves the patient experience.
“The radiologist, under ultrasound or mammogram, puts a needle right to the area – right where the lesion is, and deposits this tiny little seed right to that area,” Dr. Giblin said.
That seed can be placed in the patient’s breast up to 5 days before surgery. After the placement, the patient can go home with no problems, return for the surgery, and the surgeon uses a GPS-like device that navigates the breast to locate the tumor.
Before this new method, the standard approach for locating a breast tumor was to place a wire through the skin into the tumor.
That wire would stay in a patient’s breast, poking out of the patient’s skin until the surgeon could remove the tumor. Sometimes, this process took hours – hours of painful waiting. Dr. Giblin says some patients became more anxious and would faint.
The second piece of new technology: The MarginProbe.
It’s the first and only FDA-approved technology that allows for real-time analysis of the outer layer of cells of the tumor once it’s removed.
“It’s a probe that you literally put on the surface of the specimen,” Dr. Giblin said. “And it tells us if the edge is positive or negative.”
Before MarginProbe, after the tumor was surgically removed, the surgeon would send it to a lab for analysis to determine whether the tissue was cancerous or not.
This could take time, and if it was cancerous, it would mean that patient would need to return for a second surgery – because the cancer cells would be indicative that the entire tumor was not removed.
Altogether, the two technologies are making life easier for everyone involved – especially the patients who are already anxious enough as it is fighting breast cancer.
St. Vincent Carmel Women’s Center is the first place to use this new technology in central Indiana.