New tool to help women avoid second breast cancer surgery

This International Women’s Day (8 March) the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research announces it has developed a new device with the potential to improve the removal of cancer tumours in breast surgery.

Perkins breast cancer biomedical engineers with the imaging technologyThe state-of-the-art imaging system enables surgeons to ‘see’ the exact edge of a tumour, so they can be sure to remove all cancer cells in a single operation.

Perkins Director, Professor Peter Leedman, said currently one in four women needed to return for a second operation to remove microscopic cancer cells left behind.

“The imaging device developed in the labs at the Perkins lets a surgeon examine, at a cellular level, the tumour they’ve just removed.

“While the patient is still on the operating table, the surgeon will be able to tell if they have removed all the cancerous cells because the imaging device accurately differentiates between healthy tissue and the breast cancer.

“Currently, surgeons need to wait days for removed tumour tissue to be examined in a pathology laboratory, and if results show some tumour was missed the patient has to return for a second operation,” he said.

Breast cancer has the second highest mortality rate of cancer in women, and surgical tumour removal remains a major part of breast cancer treatment. 

Learn more about this groundbreaking technology.

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