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Ultrasound in surgery more effective at stopping early form of breast cancer

It also removes the need for a guide wire to be inserted, which should reduce pain and stress for patients and free up time for medical staff.

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Male doctor performing ultrasound on patient
(Altrendo Images via Shutterstock)N

By Gwyn Wright via SWNS

Using ultrasound in surgery is a more effective way of stopping an early form of breast cancer in its tracks than traditional methods, according to new research.

Scientists say the method is quicker, more effective and less painful way of treating ductal carcinoma in situ, which is an early form of breast cancer, than the standard technique of inserting a wire into the breast.

The technique, called intraoperative ultrasound, allows surgeons to remove smaller amounts of breast tissue while still removing all of the DCIS tissue.

It also improves women’s chances of having no cancer cells at the outer edge of the tissue that was removed.

This reduces their chances of needing a second operation.

It also removes the need for a guide wire to be inserted, which should reduce pain and stress for patients and free up time for medical staff.

"DCIS is a common form of early breast cancer that can develop into a more serious, invasive cancer," said researcher Dr. Antonio Esgueva from the Clinical University of Navarre.

“To ensure it does not progress, patients are usually offered surgery.

“Because DCIS does not usually create lumps in the breast, we need a good technique to guide surgery and make it accurate as possible.”

For the study, the team treated 108 people who were diagnosed with DICS at the Clinical University of Navarre between February 2018 and December last year.

They treated 41 of them with the ultrasound surgery while 67 had surgery guided by wire localization.

After each operation, the tissue removed was analyzed to see how much was removed.

They also looked for whether there were "positive margins," which means DICS cells were found at the edge of the tissue removed.

If they were found there, this suggests some had been left behind and patients would probably need a second operation.

Ten percent of the women who were treated with the wire needed a second operation while just four per cent of those who had the ultrasound required one.

Patients were followed up for a year and a half and cancer has only returned in one, who had the wire surgery.

“As breast surgeons, we want to perform the very best oncological surgery in terms of removing any trace of DCIS but also removing as little of the breast tissue as possible in order to have the best cosmetic result possible," Esgueva said.

“At the same time, we also want to improve patients' experience during treatment by using less invasive techniques and reducing their anxiety.

“Our research suggests that using intraoperative ultrasound, a quicker and less invasive technique, is effective for guiding DCIS surgery.”

The team plan to keep gathering data about DICS surgery in the hope they will find the ultrasound has long-term benefits.

The findings were presented at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Barcelona, Spain.

Its chair Laura Biganzoli, who was not involved in the research, said: “Once intervention is planned, the standard treatment for patients diagnosed with DCIS is surgery.

“The need for a second operation due to positive margins can be an issue.

“This research is promising because it shows that a kinder technique can help guide surgeons to effectively remove DCIS from the breast while minimizing unwanted side-effects.”

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