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Hope For Breast Cancer Patients

Times of India
15 March 2012
Mumbai India

One of the most traumatic aspects of breast cancer surgery is the fear of losing a breast. But doctors at Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital are practising a surgical procedure which will enable them to treat breast cancer even at an advanced stage without having to perform a mastectomy, that is, surgical removal of the breast.

Hope For Breast Cancer Patients

Seventy per cent of breast cancer patients who have undergone this treatment at the Tata Memorial Cancer hospital did not lose their breasts, thanks to breastconserving surgery. This which is not a radically new procedure, but one in which many doctors at the Tata Hospital are now being trained annually. According to the hospital's doctors, the procedure has shown a high success rate, with none of the patients having undergone this procedure showing signs of the cancer having returned, as of now.

How it works

In conventional surgeries for breast cancers, doctors surgically remove the tumour without removing the breast only in cases when the tumour is less than 3.5 cms in size. In cases where the tumour is larger than 3.5 cms, the doctors perform a mastectomy, in which they surgically remove all or part of the breast, including excision of underlying muscles.

In breast-conserving surgery, the tumour is removed along with surrounding tissue. Then the gap left after the removal of the tumour is filled with tissue from another part of the body. "Earlier, this was not possible because most of these women were in an advanced stage of the cancer. Now, we are able to save the breast even at a later stage," said Dr Vani Parmar, a doctor at the Tata Memorial Hospital.

Dr Parmar supported her argument with numbers: Around 2000 people out of 3800 new breast-cancer patients have not lost their breasts. "Our focus is to train doctors across India."

Last week, more than 500 doctors from across the state attended the 'Breastcon Workshop' organised as a joint venture by KEM and Tata Memorial Hospital.

In the workshop, Dr Parmar performed a live surgery on 55-year-old woman. Dr Parmar said, "In the surgery, we first marked the tumour and removed it entirely without removing the breast. Then we used tissue from her waist."

She said the benefit of this operation is that the flab grafted onto the breast has live tissue which restarts blood circulation in the breast.

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