PHOENIX — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means many are displaying pink ribbons and telling their stories about a disease that affects about one in eight women in the U.S., according the educational nonprofit BreastCancer.org.
But others are working to change the way breast cancer is treated, including an Arizona specialist who presented a study (graphic photos of patients can be seen) about a new treatment device at the recent American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology conference.
Robert Kuske, M.D. an Arizona Breast Cancer Specialist and two other researchers conducted the study about a new surgical marker called BioZorb, which suggessted doctors will be able to improve breast cancer treatment by specifically targeting tissue for radiation.
BioZorb is placed by the surgeon during a lumpectomy in order to mark the exact placement of the tumor before it is removed. This allows oncologists to specifically target the affected tissue with radiation after the surgery, reducing the amount of healthy tissue that’s damaged.
In the study of 51 cases, the new marker reportedly allowed doctors to reduce the volume and doses of radiation, meaning a shorter, less damaging treatment for cancer patients.
“Fewer side effects, a shorter treatment — five days instead of seven weeks — it’s all in all very attractive to patients,” Kuske said.
BioZorb is also beneficial in oncoplastic surgery, especially for breast reconstruction surgery after cancer treatment, according to another study.
It is FDA-approved, and is made of material that is absorbed by the body, instead of having to be surgically removed.
“I think this is going to propel a better treatment for women forward,” Kuske said.
KTAR’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.