HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The focus is on pink power. October is breast cancer awareness month.
Medical advances are having a direct impact on women and men with breast cancer. Doctors at Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute are getting ready to offer a new way of targeting a tumor, using a less invasive approach. It’s smaller than a grain of rice but a radioactive seed can help target the smallest of breast cancer tissue.
“Nowadays about 65 or 70 percent of women choose breast conserving treatment where a lumpectomy can be done and then generally followed by radiation,” said Dr. Andrew Salner, Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute. “The benefits to the patient are less discomfort because just a single seed is inserted into the tissue as oppose to a wire and more convenient. It can be done a couple of days ahead.”
This new approach replaces the use of a hook-wire.
“This is what we are doing now, we are inserting this wire into the breast tissue,” said Salner.
Still the current practice to remove the cancer. Soon surgeons will use a probe to locate the low radioactive signal to get rid of the tissue.
“When they put this thing inside, you feel the pain. It’s hard,” said Maria Urena.
The pain is excruciating for patients like Maria Urena.
“They take out the tumor and they cleaned the glands, the two glands infected,” said Urena.
She was diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer in May.
“Everything is okay, and I take all my treatments,” she said.
The biggest benefit for this new procedure…
“This really will improve quality of life, make our therapies more accurate and be less intrusive in the lives of women undergoing a cancer journey,” said Salner.
Doctors will begin using the radioactive seed localization starting in January.
Hartford Hospital’s Mobile Mammography coach will offer mammogram screenings for the public 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 9 in downtown Hartford, next to the Hartford Public Library on Main Street.
Hartford Hospital is also partnering with the town of Manchester to hold screenings open to the public 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Manchester Town Hall, 41 Center St., Manchester, on Oct. 7. Dr. Heather King, a breast surgeon, will speak about self-exams and breast health that afternoon. To schedule an appointment, call Cathy Drouin at860-647-3173.