Fifty percent of women experience some sort of non-cancerous disease, or benign tumors in their breasts, and for some it's necessary to remove the masses. Researchers at two city hospitals are hoping they've found a way to do that without surgery. Health Reporter Erin Billups has more on a new study currently underway.
Rosario Ceron immediately reached out to her doctor after discovering a painful lump in her left breast. A biopsy was performed, and the news was good.
"They said it was ok, it was not cancerous," said Ceron.
And, it was small, so her doctor advised against removing it.
But Ceron still had to live with the painful lump called a fibroadenoma.
"There are so many nerves in the breast tissue that even if they remove it, I could still be left with pain or even worse pain," said Ceron.
Two years later she found another fibroadenoma, without pain and it was growing.
This time, doctors said they may be able to treat it and enrolled her in a joint clinical trial at Bellevue Hospital and NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center.
There, they essentially zapped her tumor with high intensity frequency ultrasound, or HIFU, waves.
"When we are delivering this high energy the cells within the tumor undergo something called apoptosis which is similar to what's called cell death," said Dr. Kathie Ann Joseph, a Breast Surgeon at NYU Langone & NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue.
Dr. Kathie Ann Joseph is leading the study, and says once treated, the tumors gradually shrink.
"You can go home the same day and not have a scar, and you don't even have to take Tylenol," said Dr. Joseph. "I think that's wonderful granted with surgery, theres a small incision, but to not have any scar, they love that, and most women who have fibroadenomas have another one."
Ceron had the procedure done in May, one of seven patients so far to take part in this site's study.
It's funded by the manufacturer of the HIFU device called the Echo Pulse, by Theraclion.
Immediately after the treatment Ceron saw no noticeable difference, but a few months later she saw a big difference.
"I finally checked last month and I was like oh wow, it's almost gone," said Ceron.
Dr. Joseph says the technology is also being looked at to treat breast cancer.
But for now the hospitals need more women to participate in the fibroadenoma study.
For more information about the Bellevue - NYU trial call 212-263-5056.