Prisma Health using innovative new device aimed at improving accuracy of breast cancer surgery

The MagSeed is implanted into the breast, and allows surgeons to precisely located where cancerous tissue is located

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — Prisma Health is adding a new tool to its arsenal to help thousands of women win their battle against breast cancer.

Through a small device inserted in the breast, surgeons can now precisely remove cancerous tissue without having to use a wire.

In breast cancer surgery, if cancerous tissue can only be detected by a mammogram (which is roughly 90% of all breast cancers), then the surgeon would have to insert a wire into the breast on the day of surgery. From there, the surgeon would try to cut around the wire in order to remove the cancerous tissues.

Over the last few months, Prisma Health has been using a new device called a MagSeed, which is implanted in the breast prior to the surgery, and, through use of a probe, can point out to the surgeon where exactly the cancerous tissue is located, which helps the surgeon streamline the procedure and accurately remove more cancerous tissue.

“If you can’t feel the cancer, it’s just seen on a mammogram, there’s no way for the surgeon to know where to cut, how far to cut, and how much to take out. If you put the seed in the middle, you can use this probe to tell you how far you are from the seed, that informs you how much tissue to remove,” said Dr. Julian Kim, the Senior Medical Director of Oncology Services at Prisma Health-Midlands.

Last year, Ruth Riley went to get a routine mammogram, only to find out she had stage two breast cancer.

Even though she had family and friends in her corner along the way, Riley had to push through long days of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

“I would go out for walks sometimes in the neighborhood, and sometimes I’d be out walking and I would think to myself, you know, I might not live as long as I thought I was going to live,” Riley told ABC Columbia News. “Sounds really morbid, but it was that kind of feeling that it makes you really appreciate life.”

A few months into her treatment, Dr. Kim told Riley that she would be the first South Carolinian to go through the treatment. Riley said she jumped at the opportunity, saying she was willing to do anything to give women in a similar position a better chance at fighting cancer.

After a successful surgery, Riley was able to ring the bell and win her fight against breast cancer. She is now cancer free, and doing things she did before the diagnosis, like playing tennis.

“To me, it makes me feel so happy that I turned a corner, that now I could get back to kind of what I was before, and I just don’t have to deal with it and be through it, I’m so grateful,” Riley said. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and health experts are reminding women over the age of 45 to get a mammogram once a year.

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