Prisma Health adds new breast cancer tool helps simplify treatment, improve accuracy

Updated: Oct. 16, 2020 at 11:33 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A new breast cancer tool is helping Prisma Health doctors simplify breast cancer treatment, and it’s also reducing some stress on patients.

Prisma Health Richland Hospital is the first hospital in the Midlands to use the Magseed device. It’s smaller than a grain of rice and placed inside the breast before surgery to pinpoint the cancerous tissue. Doctors say it’s improving accuracy and making surgery less invasive.

“My female patients have often shared what it feels like, emotionally, to essentially lose a part of themselves that is so closely connected to their femininity. It can leave them feeling deformed,” said Prisma Health-Richland Senior Medical Director of Oncology Services, Dr. Julian Kim. “Older techniques involving long wire detectors the morning of surgery can compound this feeling, degrading the patient experience. I believe it is our jobs as physicians to seek innovative ways that can save lives, but also preserve dignity.”

Columbia resident, Ruth Riley, was the first Prisma Health patient to test out the device in August of 2019. Riley says she was two months behind on her routine mammogram when she started feeling a sharp pain in her breast. She scheduled an appointment right away and learned she had stage two breast cancer.

“It was really upsetting to think about losing your breast,” said Riley. “But I also wanted to do what I needed to do to take care of the cancer and get rid of it, so that was the first step really to have the mastectomy.”

Dr. Kim asked Riley if she would be willing to try out the Magseed device. “The way he described the old way of having to put a long wire in there, and then the woman has to be really careful right before surgery,” Riley explained. “It’s very stressful, so I said I would be happy to try the new technology, especially if it would help other women in the future not have to go through that other procedure.”

Riley’s surgery was a success, and doctors were able to remove all the cancer. “I asked them after the surgery did the Magseed device work, and they said yes, it worked beautifully,” she explained.

And after a long road of recovery, including chemotherapy and radiation, Riley is now feeling back to normal. “I’m playing tennis again,” she said. “It makes me feel like I’m kind of victorious over breast cancer.”

But Riley says the real win is knowing other women can now get the same treatment that helped her.

Prisma Health doctors want to remind women how important it is to get your annual mammogram. The healthcare system says it is following all COVID-19 guidelines to keep patients safe while coming to their appointments.

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