Canadian technology makes breast cancer removal more transparent

New Canadian technology makes it easier for surgeons to remove breast cancer tumors with minimal cosmetic damage and less pain for patients. And this technology is the size of a sesame seed.

Developed by Molli Surgical and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the miniature locator app has been approved by Health Canada and cleared for commercial use by the FDA.

“We all want to simplify the whole process of breast cancer care,” Anath Ravi, president and CEO of Molli Surgical, told CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday. “Easier for the patient. Easier for the radiologist to find the tumor and mark it for removal. And easier for the surgeon who needs to remove the tumor.

By implanting a tiny marker device, also known as a radioactive “pellet” or “seed,” radiologists and surgeons can pinpoint the tumor regions to be removed. Using a handheld radiation detector, also known as a “magic wand,” surgeons can then remove tumors with precision and minimal damage to the flesh.

The amount of radiation emitted by this marking device – which in turn is the size of a sesame seed – is less than that emitted by standard X-rays.

“This benefits the patient because they can have confidence that the surgeon has the tools to remove the cancer with minimal cosmetic defects,” Ravi explained.

Angela Alexander-Roper, one of the first patients to be treated with this new technology, told Your Morning that the seed location procedure is “absolutely painless.”

“Very little tissue was removed during the lumpectomy. You know, there’s a small amount, but very, very little,” she said.

Alexander-Roper found a lump at the top of her right breast during a medical exam in May. She discovered it two months after a routine mammogram found no tumor.

“Of course it was very scary,” she recalls. “I immediately contacted my doctor and she arranged an ultrasound for me and it showed that something was wrong. I was sent for further investigation. I had a biopsy. He came back with a marker, so it looked like it wasn’t quite right.

After her treatment team opted for a lumpectomy, Alexander-Roper chose to have the seed implanted instead of the old procedure, in which a radiologist inserted an intrusive wire to locate abnormal areas of the breast.

“It really made me feel a lot better. The people involved in the insertion were all very nice. And then I had another mammogram to make sure it was in place and in the right place [the doctor] did the lumpectomy and he was able to get all the edges. He was able to tell my husband immediately that everything is fine. It was just a huge relief for me.

Upon learning that Alexander-Roper’s experience with this new process was seamless, Ravi said those results were “everything.”

“So our team is working to bring this technology to Canadians closer to home. We have a team of young innovators and this motivates them to continue to look for ways to improve the experience not only for patients but also for care teams who we know are completely overwhelmed with caring for patients. That’s it for us.

Alexander-Roper is now “ready to go”, according to his doctor.

“I only have to go back for a mammogram every two years. So that’s fine with me. »

Jillian Snider

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