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Co Armagh trials exciting new technology to improve breast cancer surgery outcomes

New ‘Magseed’ technology will help surgeons accurately locate cancerous tumours

Consultant Radiologist Dr Linda Johnston and Radiographer Sarah Conway demonstrating how a ‘Magseed’ is implanted before breast cancer surgery.

New and innovative technology to help improve the outcomes from breast cancer surgery is being given its first trial in Ireland in Co Armagh.

The Southern Trust’s breast cancer team in using the new ‘Magseed’ to help surgeons accurately locate cancerous tumours.

Last year the team operated on 272 people with breast cancer.

Consultant Breast Surgeon for the Southern Trust, Miss Helen Mathers, explained: “Up to half of breast cancers diagnosed are too small to feel, such as those picked up on screening mammogram.

“In order to remove the tumour, the surgeon needs a way of accurately finding it at the time of the operation.

“The standard technique to place a guide wire on the day of surgery – one end into the tumour and the other protruding from the breast – can be uncomfortable and stressful for patients.

“The new Magseed technique involves using a mammogram or ultrasound scan to locate the tumour and implant a tiny magnetic marker or ‘seed’.

“The seed can be placed up to 30 days before the operation which allows patients to go about their daily routine and means that they can go straight to theatre on the day of their surgery.

“During the operation, a magnetic probe helps to locate the seed allowing the surgeon to remove the tumour precisely and from any angle.

“Our main goal in cancer surgery is to remove the tumour and ensure the area is clear of cancerous tissue, whilst minimising the amount of normal tissue affected and preserving the appearance of the breast.

“We look forward to bringing our patients the benefits of Magseed which is shown to improve the accuracy of surgery, reduce the removal of healthy tissue and is less stressful for patients on the day of surgery.”

One patient who has participated in the trial is Jennifer.

“I didn’t hesitate in taking part in the trial at all, the Magseed sounded much less stressful than the wire procedure,” she said.

“I would definitely recommend it to any patient. It only took a few moments and as well as being beneficial to the patient, it is a great advantage to the team during surgery.”

The Southern Trust breast cancer team is currently trialling the Magseed with patients attending for breast surgery at Craigavon Area Hospital.

INSET PICTURES: Southern Trust Consultant Surgeons, Dr Reem Salman – the first surgeon in Ireland to implant a Magseed and Miss Helen Mathers with Associate Specialist Ms Norah Scally who are currently trialling the new technology to locate tumours in breast cancer patients.

Breast Care Nurse Specialists Eimer McGeown and Kate Geddis with Tracey McArdle, Administrative Support with the ‘Magseed’ Patient information leaflet.

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