Special to the News-Journal

Ask Longview’s medical community about advancements in local breast cancer care and treatment and good news rises to the top.

It was in information from Texas Oncology-Longview Cancer Center: “Breast cancer treatment advances have resulted in nearly 100 percent survival rates for stage 1 breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. And although breast cancer is expected to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in 2018, it’s one of the most treatable and survivable when discovered early.”

The News-Journal asked the Longview Cancer Center, Christus Good-Shepherd Medical Center and Longview Regional Medical Center about the new technologies and treatments available for breast cancer in Longview. Their answers show a variety of options available for breast cancer detection and treatment in he city.

Texas Oncology — Longview Cancer Center

Steady declines in breast cancer mortality since 1990 are attributed to a combination of early detection and treatment improvements. At Texas Oncology–Longview Cancer Center, clinical trials are paving the way for new breast cancer treatments available to Longview residents, including targeted therapy, which leverages the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer, often resulting in more effective treatment with fewer side effects than chemotherapy. With seven active breast cancer clinical trials currently underway, Texas Oncology–Longview patients are not only accessing the latest in breast cancer treatment advancements, they are helping future breast cancer patients by participating in Texas Oncology’s robust clinical research program.

“All forms of breast cancer treatment – including chemotherapy, surgical techniques, and radiation – continue to improve as experience and research reveal new breakthroughs and innovations,” says Dr. Kavita Nirmal, medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Longview Cancer Center. “That progress gives patients more choices and often less invasive treatment options to take into consideration during and especially after treatment.”

Christus Good Shepherd

Christus Good Shepherd Health System has made substantial investments in advanced technology to diagnose and treat breast cancer in the past year and have begun the implementation process for the ACUSON S2000 Automated Breast Volume Scanner (ABVS) and the SCOUT Wire-Free Radar Breast Localization System.

The ACUSON S2000 is a dedicated breast ultrasound imaging system that provides “full-field volume”, or 3-D, images of the breast in approximately 10 minutes. Physicians can view the entire breast transparently and in three dimensions. This provides better, more accurate images, which allow for a more confident diagnosis.

SCOUT resolves one of the most difficult aspects of breast conservation surgery by eliminating the need to place a wire inside breast tissue to locate a tumor. SCOUT uses non-radioactive, radar technology to provide real-time surgical guidance during breast surgery. During surgery, the SCOUT guide uses radar technology to detect the location of the tumor to within 1 mm of accuracy. The ability to precisely locate tumors increases the probability of completely removing the cancer, improving cosmetic appearance post-surgery and reducing the likelihood of needing follow-up surgeries – a huge advantage for early-state breast cancer patients.

CHRISTUS Good Shepherd also increased its push to expand access to needed breast health services through events and ongoing mobile mammography efforts. The past year saw multiple “Mammo Madness” events across the area, dedicated to offering education, fun and prizes, and of course mammography services. Additionally, the mobile mammography unit increased its service and frequency of travel, visiting independent locations in Longview, Kilgore, Gilmer, Linden, Gladewater, Jefferson, Carthage, Tatum and Hallsville, while also serving all of our East Texas area clinics.

Longview Regional Medical Center

In April, the Center for Breast Care of Longview Regional Medical Center introduced a new tool that increases breast cancer detection in women: the Automated Breast Ultrasound System (ABUS), which the hospital said is the only FDA-approved breast screening technology specifically developed to increase breast cancer detection for women with dense breast tissue with no previous clinical breast interventions.

“We are excited to add the Automated Breast Ultrasound System to our comprehensive breast cancer screening program,” hospital CEO Casey Robertson said. “By offering ABUS in addition to mammography for our patients with dense breast tissue, we anticipate improving detection for small cancers that cannot be seen on a mammogram alone in these women. We believe ABUS will become an integral part of our practice for the detection of breast cancer.”

Dense breast tissue not only increases the risk of breast cancer up to four to six times but also makes cancer more difficult to detect using mammography, according to multiple large studies. One study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed mammography sensitivity is reduced by 36 to 38 percent in women with dense breasts, as density masks the appearance of tumors. As breast density goes up, the accuracy of mammograms goes down.

Many states have now proposed and/or passed legislation mandating that screening mammography patients demonstrating greater than 50 percent breast density should be informed of their density and the limitation of screening with mammography alone.

Designed and built specifically for screening, research shows that ABUS technology as an adjunct to mammography has the potential to find 35.7 percent additional cancers that would not have been found with mammography alone.

Screening ultrasonography also can help find cancers in women with dense breast tissue early when they are more likely to be treatable.