Health Watch — Breast Cancer: Pinpointing Tumors

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about detecting, treating and preventing breast cancer. Once a suspicious mass has been detected through screening, a possible next step is surgery to remove it, and a new technique makes it easier to pinpoint the mass location.

Doctors use a needle to insert a tiny radioactive seed — the size of a grain of rice — into the mass. Then surgeons use a wand that detects radiation to locate the mass and determine the best way to remove it. Dr. Roshni Rao, a surgical oncologist at
UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the technique is less invasive and allows surgeons to be more precise when removing possible tumors. Previously, doctors used wires inserted into the mass to guide surgeons, but these had to be inserted soon before the surgery. The radioactive seed can be implanted days earlier and gives off less radiation than a standard X-ray.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in cancer. 


June 2008

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