New Technologies for Treating Breast Cancer
NYP/Columbia is a national leader in surgical techniques and innovative treatments for all forms of breast cancer offering the most comprehensive multidisciplinary care available for this disease. As of October 2017 Dr. Roshni Rao will direct the Clinical Breast Surgery program. Dr. Lisa Wiechmann recently joined our surgical team working with Drs. Margaret Chen and Bret Taback at the Columbia campus in uptown and midtown Manhattan while Dr. Michelle Azu brings our expertise to NYP/Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, New York.
Columbia was among the first in the nation to introduce these surgical technologies.
“Breast GPS” that helps locate tumors.
Radiologists have traditionally placed guide wires to mark the site of a tumor for the surgeon, but these can shift around beforehand. A new device called Savi Scout® uses electromagnetic waves to locate the tumor, allowing our team to pinpoint the exact location of even the smallest cancers and improve cosmetic outcomes.
New markers for radiation therapy and breast repair
Until recently titanium clips were placed in the area of the breast needing follow up radiation after surgery, yet these markers can be displaced. Columbia surgeons now use a spiral-shaped device called BioZorb™ that allows them to securely anchor six titanium clips at the tumor site. Over time, the device dissolves, leaving the clips in place. At the same time, it serves as a scaffolding during oncoplastic surgery, a technique employed to aesthetically close the lumpectomy site.
The Ablation Program
Columbia is the only center in the world to offer three new ablation therapies for breast cancer. These procedures can be done on an outpatient basis, with local sedation. Benefits include short recovery time and preservation of the natural shape of the breast.
Dr. Margaret Chen was the first surgeon to introduce Novilase® Interstitial Laser Therapy to address small breast cancers without surgery. The laser targets the cancerous tissue with great precision and uses heat to burn away cancer cells.
Dr. Chen is now leading a clinical trial offering cryoablation, which freezes the tumor. This approach is being used on patients 65 and older diagnosed with early, low-risk breast cancer. Since cancer found at this stage tends to be less advanced, older patients may need less aggressive therapy.
Dr. Chen is also conducting a clinical trial on echotherapy, an approach that uses therapeutic ultrasound (rather than diagnostic ultrasound) to destroy fibroadenomas, non-cancerous breast tumors commonly found in women under age 30.
Columbia surgeons are also trying to understand why breast cancer is on the rise among Asian women, especially the younger generation. A trial led by Dr. Chen is aimed at reducing breast cancer recurrence in this population.
Because our center is in the forefront of clinical trials and research, our patients are among the first to benefit from the latest therapies.
Read more about our Clinical Breast Cancer program.