For many women, a mammogram often shows the first sign or sight of breast cancer. Once suspected, a biopsy is needed.
Over the last dozen or so years more than 70 percent of the patients diagnosed with breast cancer in Vermont were diagnosed with a less invasive method -- a needle biopsy -- rather than traditional open surgery.
"So the needle biopsy is a far superior way of getting a diagnosis simply because it's less invasive and can be done in the convenience of an office setting rather than having to go through surgery, with anesthesia and everything that goes along with surgery," said UVM-FAHC Surgical Oncologist Dr. Ted James.
But now there's even more reason to use that method -- improved treatment outcomes. Dr. James and his colleagues analyzed data from more than 1,100 breast cancer patients treated at hospitals in Vermont between 1998 and 2006. The results showed the likelihood of additional surgery to be significantly higher for those diagnosed with the open method versus the needle method. Just 44 percent who had the surgical procedure got by with one operation, compared to 76 percent who had a needle biopsy.
"The take home from this is, cancer should be diagnosed in the office not the operating room," Dr. James said.
But why -- why does the surgical biopsy mean a greater chance for cancer cells being left behind -- and more surgery? "When you're going in for an open biopsy, you don't really have a diagnosis and you're doing a diagnostic procedure. You're going to remove some tissue, enough to make a diagnosis but not necessarily to treat anything. So surgeons tend not to give as wide or not pay attention to margins," Dr. James said.
The open biopsy is sometimes needed, but even when it's not, about 30 percent of all biopsies are still done that way.
"My guess is that it has something to do with resources, and certainly I think the next steps here are for us to investigate what the potential barriers are so that we can expand the use of this technique and improve the quality of care of our patients," Dr. James said.
Improve their care, while cutting costs through less surgery and fewer re-admissions to the hospital.
Saturday, May 25 2013 10:30 PM EDT2013-05-26 02:30:05 GMT
A burglary at the Dorset Union Store. Police say the Church Street business, in Dorset, was broken into sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning. At this time, we do not know what was stolen.More >>
Police search for a suspect that left his blood at the crime scene.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 8:13 PM EDT2013-05-26 00:13:06 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin is urging Vermonters to be vigilant as the rain continues to come down. Especially, he says, with the possibility of wet snow that could bring down trees and damage property. ShumlinMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin is urging Vermonters to stay safe as the rain continues to come down.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 8:09 PM EDT2013-05-26 00:09:12 GMT
First responders scrambled to drain a private dam Saturday afternoon to avert major damage. Officials say the dam on Poker Hill road in Underhill nearly burst Saturday afternoon. Members of the localMore >>
First responders scrambled to drain a private dam Saturday afternoon to avert major damage.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 7:58 PM EDT2013-05-25 23:58:16 GMT
Rain-battered state roads in the hardest hit areas of Underhill and Jericho are re-open to traffic, but that doesn't mean the work is done for crews. "It's been a very challenging two-day event here soMore >>
As the rain continues to pour down, response crews are not getting a break.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-25 23:51:37 GMT
Driving along Route 15, you may notice some roads have reopened as crews guide drivers cautiously around the cracked gravel. But driving down roads like North Underhill Station, you won't get very far. ConnerMore >>
While needed repairs are being made, more work is ahead.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:30:10 GMT
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.State Police say Route 5 in Derby Line is closed near Caswell Avenue because of a hole in the pavement just a couple of feet over the lineMore >>
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>