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SAVI SCOUT Helps Olivia Shannon Beat Breast Cancer

Tumor localization technology allows for more precise breast cancer surgery

Lori Alfonse with Olivia Shannon


For breast cancer surgery, surgeons need to clearly locate the tissue that needs to be removed. In the past, that meant “wire localization.” Patients would come in early the morning of surgery for a mammogram. Then, breast imaging doctors would insert a wire into the tumor site to guide the surgeon. A patient would then wait, sometimes for hours, with a wire sticking out of the chest until surgery.

Now, Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute offers a better option: SAVI SCOUT® Wire-Free Radar Breast Localization System.

With SCOUT, doctors place a small “reflector” at the tumor site, about the size of a grain of rice. During surgery, the surgeon uses a handheld guide to detect the reflector and accurately remove the tumor.

“Breast cancer surgery can be distressing for women,” says surgical oncologist Lori Alfonse, DO, with Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute and LVPG Surgical Oncology. “Now, we can resolve one of the most difficult aspects of surgery by eliminating the need to place a wire inside breast tissue to locate a tumor.”

Olivia Shannon is a Saucon Valley resident and breast cancer survivor who used SCOUT. “I went in, and within five minutes it was done,” she says. “There was no downtime, no pain.”

“We’re proud to be the first hospital in the Lehigh Valley to adopt wirefree localization as standard of care,” Alfonse says.

Better breast cancer staging

If you are facing a breast cancer diagnosis, the most important early step is “staging” the disease.

“Accurate staging is very important. It affects the treatment plan, types of treatment and the chances of curing the disease. It’s critical to be as certain as possible before you start treating a patient.”

That’s particularly true for patients with stage 0 breast cancer, also known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). The newest mammogram technology, as used at Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute, is very good at detecting DCIS by looking for tiny amounts of calcium in the breast.

“For stage 0 breast cancer, we take chemotherapy off the table completely. These cancers are highly curable with local treatment, lumpectomy, often followed by radiation.”

State-of-the-art technology, plus great radiologists, provide a much more precise weapon in cancer staging. “You avoid unneeded biopsies, unneeded chemotherapy and unneeded stress for the patient.”

– Jason Kohn

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