Technology makes breast cancer surgery more precise
Surgeons at the University of California Irvine Medical Center have begun using a technology that can help them more precisely eliminate breast cancer cells. And that could reduce the necessity to do follow-up surgery by more than 50 percent. Currently, between 30 and 60 percent of the time, surgeons need to go back in and remove more tissue.
The new technology is called the MarginProbe System and it allows a surgeon to immediately evaluate if any cancer cells remain after a lumpectomy. Rather than having to wait several days to see if the surgeon was successful in removing all cancerous cells, the doctors can now assess the situation during the procedure itself. The technology targets the edges of the tissue taken out, an area where surgeons often end up removing cells or missing cancerous cells. Using MarginProbe, more healthy tissue can be preserved and the likelihood of missing cancer cells is reduced.
This is the first hospital to work with the MarginProbe System, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last December. It uses a handheld probe and radio-frequency signals to determine if tissue is cancerous. Researchers have called the ability to check tissue in the operating room a "game changer" for early-stage breast cancer.