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Medical Minute – New technology for treating breast cancer

ST. LOUIS - SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital is among the first in the region using a new technology to streamline breast cancer treatment for some patients.

The technology – Magseed – was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2017 with a 30-day implantation time limit, and in February, received an expanded indication becoming the only technology allowing radiologists to implant magnetic seeds in both the breast lesion and soft tissue (such as lymph nodes) without a time limit restriction prior to surgery and providing surgeons a specific map to the tumor.

This option contrasts with the traditional approach of “wire localization.” In that procedure, radiologists implant wires at the breast lesion the same day as surgery, which isn’t always the most patient-friendly approach.

“Wires are not only uncomfortable for patients, implanting them can lead to delays as it can be difficult to schedule the procedure on the same day as surgery,” says Theresa Schwartz, MD, oncologic surgeon with SLUCare and SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.

In a study published in February’s Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, researchers found “Magnetic seeds are a feasible and safe method of breast lesion localization. They can be accurately placed, demonstrate no migration in this feasibility study and are detectable in all sizes and depths of breast tissue.”

“The goal with Magseed is to accurately remove the breast tumor, leave behind as much healthy tissue as possible and make the experience as easy as possible for patients,” says Dr. Schwartz. “This is a great advance for breast cancer treatment.”

Magseed differentiates itself from similar technologies that use radioactive seeds and radar transistors rather than magnets which are more reliable. The Magseed is also the smallest non-radioactive seed available. SLU Hospital is considered the first in the St. Louis region to adopt Magseed after its FDA approval.

It’s another breast cancer “first” for SLU Hospital, as in 2017 they were first in the nation to offer the new Affirm 3D breast biopsy machine, allowing specialists to more accurately visualize tissue while performing biopsies while patients lie in a more comfortable prone position.

For more information on breast cancer, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Thursday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.​