New technology gives patients option for breast cancer treatment
By Debbie Bradley
Tuesday, September 30, 2008 9:34 PM CDT
As runners gear up for Houston’s Race for the Cure on Saturday, women around the Houston area with breast fibroademonas are benefiting in a new technology, called the Visica 2 Treatment System.
Unlike the breast cancer that many are familiar with, fibroadenomas are benign tumors that show up more often in the younger age groups, between 15 and 40 years old.
“Fibroadenomas are the most common form of breast tumor, affecting millions of women, most of whom are in their twenties and thirties,” Dr. Elizabeth Bonefas said.
“It is rare for benign breast tumors to develop cancerous cells, and the majority of women diagnosed with fibroadenomas are told to watch and wait.
"However, due to uncomfortable physical symptoms and psychological anxiety, many women still opt to have their fibroadenoma treated.”
Fibroadenoma can be detected first through either a patient noticing a mass or through a mammogram. After detection, a biopsy is required to determine whether the mass is a fibroadenoma.
The Visica 2 Treatment System uses a new approach to treating fibroadenoma.
Rather than cutting in and removing the mass, the Visica 2 system uses cryoablation, extreme cold, to destroy tumors without requiring stitches or general anesthesia.
During the procedure, a needle is guided to the center of the tumor using ultrasound at which point, the system will create very cold temperatures at the needle tip, freezing the tumor.
“The patients are typically able to return to work the next day,” Bonefas said. “Over the next 2-12 months, depending on the original size, the lump will break up and be replaced with normal breast tissue.”
Using the system, patients see less of a negative cosmetic impact due to the size of the incision, which is typically 3 milimeters.
The patient can also return to normal daily activities much faster than previous treatments allowed due to the lack of general anesthesia.
According to Bonefas, the procedure also works with the patient economically by keeping them out of the operating room, which keeps the cost down.
Thus far, there have been over 2,000 cases treated using the new system.