GHS offers patients new tool in the fight against breast cancer

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Greenville Health System (GHS) is revolutionizing breast cancer care with the help of SAVI SCOUT®, a novel breast localization system that uses radar instead of wire to help surgeons more precisely locate breast cancer tissue during lumpectomies.

“There are many potential benefits to using SCOUT; chief among them is the ability to more precisely locate cancerous tissue. Research has shown that this level of precision increases the probability of complete cancer removal and reduces the need for follow-up surgeries,” said Brian McKinley, MD, a surgical oncologist at GHS who specializes in breast cancer.

SCOUT is the world’s only non-radioactive, wire-free breast localization system. With SCOUT, the radiologist places a tiny, highly sophisticated reflector at the tumor site with extreme precision up to 30 days before surgery. During surgery, the surgeon scans the breast using the SCOUT guide, which emits infrared light and a radar signal to detect the location of the reflector. Real-time audible and visual indicators assist the surgeon in accurately locating the reflector along with the target tissue.

The alternative to SCOUT is wire localization – inserting a wire into the breast to locate the target tissue. With this approach there is a risk the wire could move between insertion and surgery, resulting in re-excisions and a less than pleasing cosmetic result. The wire itself can also cause discomfort.

“With wire localization, patients have to undergo two procedures – wire insertion and surgery – on the same day. With SCOUT, the patient undergoes only one procedure at a time several days or even weeks apart, making the overall experience significantly less stressful,” said Dr. McKinley.

Greenville resident Jenene Davis can attest to the difference between wire localization and SCOUT. Davis was diagnosed with stage zero cancer in her right breast five years ago. At the time, doctors at GHS used a wire to locate her tumor. Then, after a routine mammogram in 2017, they found cancer in her left breast. This time, doctors used SCOUT to locate the cancerous tissue.

“The difference between the two was noticeable. I hated the wire. It was uncomfortable and scary. I was so worried it was going to move or come out,” said Davis. “With SCOUT, I felt more at ease and there was no pain or discomfort.”

Davis received good news last week following her lumpectomy. Her pathology results showed negative margins for cancer, meaning the cancer taken from her left breast had not spread.

“I’ve had breast cancer twice now. I thank God that it was caught early both times, but it also gives me comfort knowing that, if it happens again, an easier and more comfortable option like SCOUT is available.”

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