Ultrasound Tech Helps Researchers Identify Entire Breast Tumors in Lumpectomies
October 29, 2012 6:35 PM
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Particles were used as ultrasound contrast markers to help correctly locate an entire tumor for removal or destruction during a breast lumpectomy
A new method for removing breast cancer tumors uses ultrasound technology to better locate the exact placement of the tumor -- thus allowing a more complete removal of the
Researchers at the University of California - San Diego (UCSD), led by PhD graduate student Alex Liberman and his advisor Andrew Kummel, PhD, have used particles as ultrasound contrast markers to help correctly locate an entire tumor for removal or destruction during a breast lumpectomy.
A breast lumpectomy is when a tumor is removed, but the breast is conserved (unlike a full mastectomy, where the entire breast is removed as well). However, this is a difficult process that often
requires a second surgery
in order to remove or destroy the entire tumor. Doctors use wires that are stuck into the breast to locate the tumor, but this isn't very accurate because the wires move easily.
But with the new ultrasound method developed by the UCSD team, the chances of needing a second surgery could be greatly reduced. The new technique uses biodegradable, iron-doped silica micro/nano spheres that are implanted into the body. Using ultrasound during a lumpectomy, researchers are guided by the particles to where the entire tumor is located. The particles stick to the tumor once injected and make it more visible. This offers a more accurate incision and complete
removal of the tumor
Also, the particles can destroy the tumor with the use of high intensity focused ultrasound ablative therapy.
"We are using these particles for two applications," said Kummel. "In the short term we are injecting them into breast tumors to enable surgeons to halve the number of second surgeries by readily locating the tumors in the operating room with low-power ultrasound imaging. In the long term, we want to inject the particles intravenously, have them stick to the tumors, and then ablate the tumors by blowing up the particles with high intensity focus ultrasound which is called HIFU."
With breast tumors marked accurately, the number of second surgeries needed can be reduced by 50 percent.
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11/2/2012 10:46:58 PM
NO qualified individual should ever argue that a mamogram is better than an ultrasound.
In most cases the benefits of mamography do not outweigh the risks:
__Imagine telling a male patient that they need to have their testis placed in a vice and squeezed to get a good image, after explaining how the probability of cancer is directly proportional to severity and frequency of trauma to said area...
Mamography is standard simply because it is "cost effective", and less time consuming.
A far better process would be to have a qualified physician thoroughly teach each patient how to properly identify healthy lobules so that the patient can adequately monitor their own health and bring any any "red flags" to a physician immediately for qualified diagnosis & ultrasound.
The continued reliance on mamography is in itself misleading.
It would be far better to outlaw the procedure, than to let the uninformed public place their hope in unreliable screening that actually increases risk of cancer!
If it is better to be safe than sorry which would you rather have?
An ultrasound (with no side effects or risk) that is more likely to give a false positive (the test says you might have cancer when you don't)--OR a mamogram (with risk and side effects) that is more likely to give false negatives (the test says you don't have cancer when you do).
..and I don't just say this because I am a certified Ultrasonic Tech. I had a tumor successfully removed years ago thanks to physical exams and ultrasound. Conversely, I personally know individuals who have found cancer too late and were forced to have entire organs removed (instead of just the tumor) because their tumor's were not correctly identified by a mamogram...
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