Patients who need an operation to remove breast cancer that has spread can now have this carried out during the first diagnostic procedure at Salisbury District Hospital thanks to a new machine that gives an instant result.
Previously surgeons would have had to wait for the results of a biopsy and patients who had a positive test would have had to come back for a second operation.
Breast cancer can spread through the lymph nodes in the armpit and surgeons now routinely remove the first lymph node (called the Sentinel Node) which could potentially receive cells from the original tumour. The Sentinel Node is analysed, and if this is clear, it means that the other nodes are clear too, and no more surgery to the armpit is required.
Unfortunately around 25% of patients will have cancer cells present in the Sentinel Node and they will need to have further lymph nodes removed.
Vicky Brown, Consultant Breast Surgeon said: “The test result is now available while the patient is under anaesthetic, and the further surgery can be carried out straight away rather than a week or two later when results where previously available.”
“This is a real positive move forward for our patients as there are only a few hospitals in the country which use this new machine. It’s essential that we do not carry out any more surgery than we have to and this is another example of where advances in technology and less invasive surgical techniques can have a considerable impact on the way we are able to treat patients at Salisbury District Hospital."
For further information please contact:
Public Relations Manager,
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.
Tel: 01722 425170