Health & Wellness

Boomer Edition | 10th Annual | 2014

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Page 37 of 147

Looking Ahead Rose Trials Improve Breast-Cancer Treatment for Patients Today and Tomorrow by Debra Melani Visions of her mother's severe radiation burns from breast-cancer treatment stuck with Eddy Duckels through the years. So did tales of her grandmother's lost battle with the disease, despite a mastectomy. So when doctors told her that she, too, was dealt that unlucky breast-cancer card, Duckels wasn't really surprised. Just a little uneasy. But Duckels caught her breast cancer early. And treatment of the disease has advanced far beyond the "horse-and-buggy doctor" days of her grandmother's. In fact, largely because of people like Duckels and her Rose Medical Center surgeon, those haunting memories are gradually being banished to the past. "My goal is to make early-detected cancers easy to cure," says Dr. Barbara Schwartzberg, Duckels' surgeon and lead investigator in two breakthrough clinical trials that could make treatment of early-stage breast cancer almost a lunch-hour process. "I want to show patients that it's to their advantage to get their mammograms and do their self-exams," Schwartzberg says. 36 Bypassing Surgery Duckels, 68, already knows that advantage. The Centennial resident was lucky to have her lump detected via mammogram when it was still so small, even her doctors couldn't feel it. She credits being proactive and maintaining a longterm relationship with her Rose doctors for the early diagnosis, which made her a candidate for the clinical trial and state-of-the-art laser treatment. The procedure, which Schwartzberg hopes will eventually replace the standard lumpectomy for early-stage tumors, involves inserting two probes, one a laser and one a thermometer, through two pinpricks. The outpatient procedure is done using local anesthesia and ablates the tumor, killing cancer cells in 15 to 30 minutes. "We put a Band-Aid on, and patients go on with their day," Schwartzberg says. "They also don't have any volume loss to the breast, as they do with a lumpectomy, which requires in-patient surgery with general anesthesia." By comparison, Duckels experienced slight discomfort during the treatment from the laser's heat and some swelling afterward.

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