Breast cancer is a harrowing reality for many women. Hearing the news alone can already overwhelming be in itself, much more having to make countless trips to the hospital and the decision to surgically remove her breast(s).
In the past, radical surgery* was the treatment of choice for both the control and cure of breast cancer. Often, women have to go through the difficult decision of choosing to remove their entire or part of their breast where the tumour is. Both of which can cause immense emotional and physical stress for a long time after.
However, as more breast cancer patients seek less invasive treatments that minimise deformities, more non-surgical treatments such as Cryoblation have also started to gain traction. We spoke with Dr Jendana Chanyaputhipong, a Breast Surgeon from The PanAsia Surgery Group to find out more about what this procedure entails.
What is Cryoblation?
According to Dr Jendana, Cryoblation is a procedure that deep freezes the tumour in the breasts. It is a short 30-minute procedure where a thin needle that will be inserted through the skin to get directly to the cancerous tumour. After which, a cooling gas, that goes down to temperatures between -40°C and -170°C, is pumped through the cryoprobe to freeze the target tissue. This cycle is performed a second time to ensure that cancer cells are destroyed.
“Having cryoablation as an alternative to treat certain types of breast cancer is certainly attractive to researchers, as well as beneficial for the patients themselves because it is minimally invasive and causes less scarring and deformity,” she said.
Though it may be unconventional, many patients have already begun to try it. Short-term results have been promising with minimal adverse effects, high patient satisfaction rate and comparable local recurrence rates. However, Dr Jendana and Rameysh also noted that the treatment should be reserved for patients who cannot undergo surgery or when there are no other available treatment options for local tumours that have not spread to other organs. At least until further evidence have been obtained.
Yet, while we should be grateful for the advancements in technology that allow for less invasive procedures, it is important that we take personal responsibility for our own healths daily.
What can we do to lower the risk of contracting Breast Cancer?
Simple lifestyle changes can make big differences in the risk of breast cancer.
- Avoid or limit alcohol
- Avoid or limit hormonal drug usage
- Avoid or limit smoking
- Be physically active
Importantly, practice breast awareness and go for age-appropriate screenings as early detection is our best protection, where treatments are most likely to be successful.
If you are a breast cancer patient, know that you are not alone. And no matter what happens, you are beautiful.
* Radical Surgery: Removal of the entire breast, skin, nipple, underlying muscle and armpit group of lymph nodes
Images: PanAsia Surgery Group, Cancerbro