New Approach to Benign Breast Tumors

Sep 4, 2014

Credit University of Virginia Health System

About one of every five women in this country will develop a benign breast tumor at some point in her life.  Removal requires surgery, which leaves a scar, but University of Virginia scientists are testing a whole new approach.

While benign breast tumors pose no threat to a woman’s health, they can be painful, and Dr. David Brenin, who heads UVA’s Breast Center says they’re bothersome.

“Many women don’t relish the idea of running around with a lump in their breast, and while they do tend to be benign, that bothersome nature leads many women to have them removed.”

Brenin, who is chief of breast surgery at UVA, says cutting tumors out leaves a scar, but he’ll soon test the use of ultrasound to remove tumors.

Ultrasound energy passes harmlessly through the skin and is focused at a point underneath the skin where the tumor is, and this disrupts the tumor cells, and then the body absorbs these tunor cells naturally.

This technology is already used in Europe, and Japan is using it to treat breast cancer.  Brenin says that’s the obvious next step, but first he’ll test the safety of focused ultrasound on benign breast tumors.