Advanced Breast Cancer Detection Tool Now Available at Wayne Memorial

(Honesdale, December 4, 2019)… Wayne Memorial Hospital is now offering an advanced step in the detection of breast cancer, a stereotactic biopsy procedure. This procedure is recommended when a mammogram reveals an abnormality, such as a suspicious lump, breast structure irregularities, changes in tissue or calcium deposits. During a stereotactic biopsy, a small sample of tissue is removed for examination under a microscope to see if cancer is present.

The procedure itself offers major advantages for patients, according to Lisa Medvetz, MD, a general surgeon at Wayne Memorial. “The patient does not have to go to the Operating Room for surgery, undergo anesthesia or look forward to a long post-op recovery period,” she said.

Dr. Medvetz, and the hospital’s chief of Radiology, Charles Barax, MD, are both trained to perform the procedure. Another surgeon, Louis D’Oro, MD, is expected to join them soon.

“Additionally, the wait time is often much less than a patient might have to wait for surgery,” said Dr. Barax. “In fact, depending on a multitude of factors, there may be times the procedure can be done the same day.”

Since the hospital initiated the service last month, Dr. Barax has completed several stereotactic biopsies, including one in which he discovered a six-millimeter cancerous growth. “We were able to excise the tissue and make a prompt diagnosis,” he said. “It was reassuring to the patient to know it had been discovered early.”

During a stereotactic biopsy, a specialized mammography machine provides X-rays from two different angles to help pinpoint the suspicious tissue. The two sets of images guide the physician to the area of concern, where a needle in a hollow tube can be inserted to remove the tissue for analysis.

“The entire process typically takes about an hour,” explained Dr. Barax, “and, because the breast is numbed ahead of time, our patients report it’s far less uncomfortable than a routine mammogram.”

“And the area of penetration is so small,” added Dr. Medvetz, “there is no really visible scarring. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that leaves barely a trace.”

The American Cancer Society recommends screening mammograms for women age 40 and over or earlier for those women who have a family history of breast cancer. Experts agree that any type of cancer is best detected early for treatment to be most effective.

Wayne Memorial offers 3D mammograms in Honesdale, in Lords Valley and via its Mobile Mammography unit in Carbondale, Hamlin, Forest City and Lake Como. To make an appointment with a referral, call Central Scheduling at (570) 251-6689.


Photo: Lisa Medvetz, MD, right and Lisa Ryder, RT (M), Wayne Memorial chief mammography technologist with stereotactic biopsy equipment.


Photo: Charles Barax, MD, Wayne Memorial chief radiologist.