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Home News and Update Year 2010 Gamma Probe Zeroes in on Cancer Cells

Gamma Probe Zeroes in on Cancer Cells

Times of India
25 January 2010
By Pratibha Masand
Mumbai, India

Doctors in the city are increasingly using the hi–tech gamma probe to help them identify cancerous cells in the breast. Experts say this method is more accurate in helping doctors locate cells that must be targeted for therapy.

Sara Bobat, a Zambian, is one of those who has benefited from the gamma probe. During an examination, doctors found a lump in her left breast a few months ago. They initially thought that it was benign, however, it was later diagnosed as cancerous. Doctors at Saifee Hospital in Charni Road used the gamma probe to ascertain if the cancer had spread to other parts of Bobat’s body. Recently, Kokilaben Ambani Hospital in Andheri, with the help of this technology, saved a woman an unnecessary operation of the lymph nodes.

Dr A R Undre, head of surgery at Saifee Hospital, said, “Earlier, it was difficult to find out if the cancer had spread to tissues near the breast. Then, doctors came up with the technique using a dye to highlight the lymph nodes connected to the cancerous area. But, even with this, one couldn’t be sure where the dyed nodes were.” With the gamma probe, doctors can find the exact lymph nodes connected to the cancerous area, remove them, and reach the area which might pose a problem for the patient.

“The probe is a metal rod connected to a machine that indicates the affected area in units. The higher the number indicated in the machine, the more tumour–connected lymph nodes in that area,” Saifee Hospital nuclear medicine department head, Dr G N Mahapatra, said. The procedure is simple. “First, a radioactive solution is injected in the area. Two hours later, the gamma probe is placed on the area. The machine indicates the problematic nodes. Then, the surgeon can cut open the area and remove those nodes,” he said.

Doctors claim that the technique can be also used in problems like melanoma, orthopaedic ailments and other cancerous tumours.

Mumbai doctor gives US peers lesson in new tech
Indian doctors may still be going abroad to learn new skills but of late, doctors abroad are also picking up a thing or two from their Indian peers. Dr Amit Maydeo, a gastroenterologist and a surgeon, taught advanced endoscopic techniques to around 500 physicians in the US on Saturday through video–conferencing. “Pancreatic stones are common in India. Hence, endocrinologists here are well–versed with techniques to remove stones,” said Maydeo. The US doctors were taught Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography, which includes crushing the stones and balloon dilation, and the new spyglass technique, in which the stone is blasted with laser. TNN

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