xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Editorial: Carroll fortunate to have leading breast cancer technology available locally

Carroll Hospital's Center for Breast Health continues to find ways to improve and stay at the forefront of treatment for women with breast cancer, becoming the first hospital in Maryland to adopt a new technology that makes removing tumors safer and the process of marking them a less painful experience for patients.

Earlier this year, the hospital began using the LOCalizer system, as Dr. Dona Hobart, the medical director of Carroll's Center for Breast Health, has thus far performed about 20 surgeries using the technology.

Advertisement

It is particularly useful in removing small, nonpalpable tumors — ones that are too small to be felt by hand, but that can be detected early through a mammogram or ultrasound screening. Once the tumors are confirmed through a biopsy, doctors need to mark it so the lesion and the appropriate amount of breast tissue surrounding it can be removed.

However, because of the small size of these tumors — which make up about half of all breast cancer lesions — using older technology can make it difficult for surgeons to locate and remove them.

Advertisement
Carroll Hospital is the first hospital in Maryland to adopt a new technology for breast surgery that improves patient comfort and makes that surgery easier for surgeons.

Carroll Hospital has been offering the predecessor to the LOCalizer, known as radioactive seed localization, since 2014. Using that technology, an iodine seed could be implanted up to five days prior to surgery, to avoid marking the tumor and the surgery taking place on the same day. It also replaced an awkward and painful process still used in many hospitals to localize a breast cancer tumor by inserting a wire into the breast that would stick out of the skin.

While still preferable to using the wire technique, seed localization had some shortcomings, Hobart told us. Particularly if a patient had to have surgery postponed. Because the seeds could only be left in a patient for five days, if surgery had to be delayed to remove the tumor, the seed needed to come out (and, ergo, another would have to be inserted prior to the rescheduled surgery).

LOCalizer uses nonradioactive tags that are implanted up to 30 days prior to surgery, allowing more flexibility in scheduling. Once in, surgeons can then use a receiver about the size of a pencil that will guide the doctor toward the tag, instantly displaying the distance from the probe to the tag in millimeters — "like giving you GPS coordinates," Hobart said — allowing for greater accuracy in removing the tumor.

Because each LOCalizer emits an individual signal, Hobart said it also allows for accurate mapping of multiple tumors, if necessary.

That Carroll is able to offer the latest technology — albeit one that is more expensive at this time than seed localization — is a testament to the Carroll Hospital Foundation, the fundraising arm of the medical center, and to the members of the community who donate to the foundation.

We're fortunate to have access to some of the leading medical technology right in our own backyard. To learn more about the Carroll Hospital Foundation, call 410-871-6200 or email foundation@carrollhospitalcenter.org.



Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement