Dr. Chung discusses the cutting-edge breast cancer clinical research she is currently pursuing. Breast Cancer breast-cancer.
Breast Cancer Research at the John Wayne Cancer Institute At the John Wayne Cancer Institute, we are looking at different types of technology to improve our surgical outcomes for patients undergoing breast conservation therapy. So Lumpectomy which just removes the tumor in part of the breast is the most common surgical procedure for breast cancer that women choose. This allows you to save your breast. However, one of the biggest problems when you’re doing this surgery is that you can't really see or feel the surgical margins -- you can't really see or feel disease in the surgical margins. You know you’ve got the main tumor but often times, there’s microscopic disease that gets left behind as I said as a surgeon, you can't see or feel. So frequently, the patient will undergo her lumpectomy and then a couple days later, when you have to find a pathologist, you see that the margins are microscopically involved and then the woman has to go back for a second procedure to clear out the margins. So that happens in about 25 to 30% of cases. We are currently looking at this type of technology that might help us identify microscopic disease in the operating room in real time. If we are able to show that we can identify microscopic disease at the margins during the operation, that could potentially save women from having a second surgery.