Vanessa Caicedo started breast self-exams in her teens. And not long after, she found a lump on the side of her right breast. Fortunately, that lump and a second one a year later, were benign tumors called fibroadenomas.
Sometimes they are removed by lumpectomy, which has drawbacks. “It may cause some deformity of the breast if it’s a big lump, say an inch or more in diameter,” says Dr. Kambiz Dowlat.
Doctor Dowlat pioneered a less invasive alternative called novilase. It uses infrared laser energy, which is converted into heat. It’s a gentle method of treating tumor with laser energy.
The patient’s tumor is imaged with ultrasound, and a needle is inserted into the center. “Heat generated from the tip of this fiber spreads evenly and spreads outwardly,” says Dr. Dowlat.
A second needle, containing a heat-reading sensor, is inserted alongside to make sure the tissue isn’t overheated. For a half-inch tumor, a 15 to 20 minute treatment heats and destroys it. Within months, the dead tissue is absorbed by the body. “Personally you feel better and you know, health-wise you feel better, too ’cause, you know, the lump is out and there’s no scar.”
A new option to consider for benign breast tumors. This new technology is FDA cleared for the treatment of benign breast tumors. The next step is a clinical trial with breast cancer patients to use this as an alternative to lumpectomy removal of cancerous tumors.