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Format: 04/24/2014
Format: 04/24/2014

News

WPXI-TV: New procedure offers hope to breast cancer patients

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Seventeen years ago, Slippery Rock University professor Jennifer Behm found a lump in her breast. She had a biopsy and was told it was fine. But just a few months ago, that changed and she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

"I knew I had a big decision ahead of me and had to deal with breast cancer, so I did a lot of research," said Behm.

That research led Jennifer to a procedure called oncoplastic breast surgery.

"You take breast lift and breast reduction incision patterns and apply them to cancer. Rather than using haphazard incisions, you use the scar patterns we have used for 30-40 years for cosmetic surgery and apply it to cancer surgery," said Pittsburgh plastic surgeon Dr. James O'Toole.

Jennifer is a busy mom of five and the option of having just one surgery meant she didn't have to worry about two surgeries, two recoveries and more visits to her doctor's office than necessary.

"There have been so many anxious moments in my diagnosis. My denial and then my acceptance of going through this process. But knowing this is it for me surgically and that my cancer is one that I will defeat ... I feel this was best option for me.

O'Toole worked closely with Allegheny General Hospital surgical oncologist Dr. Tom Julian on Behm's procedure.

Behm was the perfect candidate for the procedure, but the surgery doesn't always work for patients with locally advanced tumors, especially involving skin outside of the scar patterns.

To read more or see the video, visit the WPXI-TV web site.

 

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