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Terahertz imaging may reduce breast cancer surgeries

rom 22 women who underwent either wide local excision or mastectomy to remove breast cancer. All samples were first sliced and imaged with terahertz light, and then submitted for histopathologic analysis. Imaging took less than five minutes.

"There were substantial differences in the optical properties of normal and diseased tissue," Dr. Wallace said. The size and shape of the diseased regions at terahertz imaging were compared with those at histopathologic examination, with good results. All but three samples yielded invasive cancers. In total, there were two invasive lobular carcinomas, 14 invasive ductal carcinomas, three mixed invasive ductal and lobular carcinomas, two cases of pure ductal carcinoma in situ and one dense radial scar.

In breast cancer excision surgery, the aim is to remove the entire tumor with an adequate margin of normal tissue, while minimizing the amount of healthy tissue being removed. If a histopathologist analyzes the tissue and finds tumor at or near the edges, this indicates that there is a higher chance of cancer recurrence. A second operation is required to remove more tissue, involving additional hospital resources and increased risk of patient morbidity. Thus, there is a clinical need to accurately define the margins of the tumor during surgery.


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Source:Radiological Society of North America


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