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The MarginProbe™ System

New Technology Can Reduce Uncertainty for Breast Cancer Patients at Virtua

When patients have cancerous tumors removed from the breast, it takes days to discover if all the cancer cells have also been removed. If they haven’t, patients may need to undergo a second surgery.

In addition to the physical implications, emotional side effects begin to take a toll. This can feel like a setback, even when medically it may not be.

“When you have to go back for more surgery you start to think, ‘how much has this spread?’” says Cheryl Tilton, a three-time breast cancer survivor. Tilton, nurse director in the operating room at Virtua Memorial, understands all too well the fear and apprehension of needing multiple procedures to rid her breast of cancer.

After her first lumpectomy 13 years ago, physicians discovered they didn’t remove all the cancer cells during the procedure. Tilton had to face another surgery and another waiting period before she learned the cancerous tissue was gone.

“Waiting can be the worst part. You just want to deal with it and move on,” she said.

Now, Virtua has new technology that can decrease the likelihood of a second surgery and ease the fear patients experience while they await results.

The MarginProbe™ tests the remaining breast tissue right in the operating room and the results are attained in minutes instead of days. If cancer cells are detected, more tissue will be taken.

Ultimately, current studies show this FDA-approved technology has the potential to cut the need for a second procedure by 50 percent.

The MarginProbe™ was added to Virtua's comprehensive Cancer Center program thanks to gifts made to Virtua Foundation’s Tyanna Barre O’Brien Breast Care Comfort Fund.

Diane Gillum, MD FACS, Medical Director, Virtua Breast Program, said facing a second surgery to remove cancer cells may be one cause of the increased mastectomy rates she has seen in the last few years. Many women don’t want to go through that experience more than once.

Her hope is the MarginProbe™ will remove some of the uncertainty and bring patients added peace of mind.

“Getting this equipment fits with our approach of offering patients the best we possibly can in terms of technology and treatment,” said Gillum.



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