Family Focus

Machine helps early detection of breast cancer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A woman in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes, and one in eight women will be diagnosed in their lifetime

These numbers are startling but early detection is the key.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Eyewitness News anchor Allison Latos learned about a unique machine that one cancer survivor said saved her life.

Claudia French finished her last radiation treatment last week. She's a breast cancer survivor, and she wants to share how this machine helped save her life.

“We thought only one tumor. With the machine, there were three,” French said. “We were able to get clear margins all around, and I didn't have to get additional surgeries which was wonderful.

The machine is called a margin probe.

Dr. Rhonda Wachsmuth is one of the first doctors in Atlanta to use it at Northside Hospital-Cherokee in Canton, and explains how it works when it detects cancer cells in tissue during a lumpectomy.

“The signal they send back is different from normal cells,” Wachsmuth said.

Using radio-frequency electrical fields, the disposable probe will tell her with sounds and a monitor if malignant cells are detected.

Wachsmuth said it helps eliminate follow-up surgeries to remove lingering cancer cells. Microscopic cancer cells may not show up in an X-ray, Wachsmuth said.

“Anything we can do to minimize scars, minimize tissue removal is very beneficial to the patient,” Wachsmuth said.

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