Insights from Renowned Breast Cancer Surgeon, Dr. Dennis Holmes, Given During ASBrS 2017

During the American Society of Breast Surgeons annual meeting, Dr. Dennis Holmes, MD, internationally renowned breast cancer surgeon, researcher and innovator, was interviewed by the Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Answers, Todd Hartley. The Facebook live stream touched on multiple topics in breast oncology including what patients should know about lumpectomy and the path to treatment when diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr. Holmes is a MarginProbe advocate, and also used this opportunity to talk about his experience utilizing RF spectroscopy to make sure he gets all the cancer during the first surgery.

Here is a snapshot of their conversation.

Deciding between mastectomy or lumpectomy

Many women facing a breast cancer diagnosis believe mastectomy is their only option for complete tumor removal. However, a lumpectomy is an extremely effective method of removing cancerous tissue while still conserving your breast.

Lumpectomy is equally as good as mastectomy,” says Dr. Holmes. “Many people feel it is an inferior operation because they believe leaving part of the breast tissue behind increases the risk of recurrence. That is simply not the case- either procedure will achieve the same results. And recent studies show that the survival rate might even be better in lumpectomy because the procedure is often followed with radiotherapy.

With lumpectomy, patients experience less pain, less downtime, and the same results.”

Obtaining clear margins during lumpectomy

During lumpectomy surgeons aim to not only excise the tumor but also a portion of the surrounding healthy tissue in order to obtain a clear margin. The MarginProbe allows surgeons to examine the margins of the excised tissue while in the operating room so the surgeon is able to assess if more tissue should be removed- increasing the chances that they will get it all during the first operation.


“Some surgeons achieve clear margins by taking more tissue and extending the margins but that can cause trouble with cosmesis,” says Dr. Holmes. “Fortunately, we have new devices such as the MarginProbe device that allows us to see the surgical margins at the time of the operation which is important for two reasons: 1. We can be confident about the tissue we are taking out during surgery. And 2. we can take out less tissue, be sure it is clear, and reduce the odds that re-excision will take place.”

Dr. Holmes on the important steps a patient should take in leading up to a lumpectomy

  1. Know your exact diagnosis. Knowing your diagnosis from a needle biopsy helps both you and your surgeon make an informed decision about your options.
  2. Make sure you know your treatment options.
  3. Pick the surgeon that will help you achieve your decided course of treatment.

You can find the interview, in full, below.

If you would like to learn more about RF Spectroscopy’s capability to reduce re-excisions for breast cancer patients or what the future of our technology holds for biopsy in breast cancer and other indications, contact info@dunemedical.com.

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