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Archive for November, 2016

New Development in Breast Cancer Surgery

 

Today, women diagnosed with breast cancer have multiple surgical options to choose from. Historically, breast cancer surgery has been limited to removing the entire breast (mastectomy), or removing the lump (tumor) and preserving the breast. This is known as a lumpectomy, or breast conserving surgery. Advances in surgical techniques, as well as the need for improved breast cancer care, have resulted in the development of oncoplastic breast surgery.

 

What is oncoplastic breast surgery?

Oncoplastic surgery combines traditional lumpectomy with plastic surgery techniques. Once the tumor has been removed, the breast is reshaped in order to provide the most visually pleasing outcome. Reshaping the breast prevents contour deformities and allows for better cosmetic results. Removal of the tumor and reshaping of the breast are done during the same operation.

Is it safe?

Oncoplastic surgery does not compromise your cancer care. Safe treatment of breast cancer is always our number one priority. The goal is to remove the tumor with clear margins, the same as in traditional lumpectomy operations. Radiation treatment is generally recommended following oncoplastic breast surgery, just as in standard breast conserving surgery. Studies comparing traditional breast conservation and oncoplastic surgery have shown comparable outcomes. Oncoplastic surgery is equally safe from a cancer perspective.

There is a difference when we compare cosmetic outcomes and quality of life. Women who undergo oncoplastic surgery are more satisfied with the cosmetic appearance of their breasts. This can lead to improved quality of life through better self-confidence, self-esteem, and comfort with intimacy.

 

Oncoplastic surgery combines traditional lumpectomy with plastic surgery techniques.

What are the possible complications?

As with traditional lumpectomy, complications are possible. These may include bleeding, infection, changes in breast and nipple sensation, wound healing issues, asymmetry, cosmetic dissatisfaction, and need for reoperation.

On occasion, a second operation is needed to treat the cancer. This may happen if the first surgery failed to remove all of the disease. This can happen in any breast cancer surgery, but can be challenging in oncoplastic surgery because the tissue has been rearranged. A larger surgery may be needed to remove the remaining cancer. This may include mastectomy. To avoid this, imaging studies such as mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI may be done before your surgery to fully assess the location and extent of the disease.

What about the opposite breast?

Oncoplastic surgery generally results in a smaller, rounder breast on the operative side. Radiation can further shrink or tighten the breast. To achieve symmetry, the opposite breast can be reshaped or reduced. Surgery on the opposite breast can be done at the time of the cancer surgery, or later on, once all of the breast cancer treatment has been completed.

Which patients are good candidates for oncoplastic breast surgery?

Oncoplastic surgery is ideal for women with moderate to large sized breasts who require a large volume of breast tissue removed. By reducing and reshaping the breasts, some symptoms of macromastia (large, heavy breasts) may be reduced. These include back, neck and shoulder pain, and recurrent rashes under the breast. Most women who have had previous breast surgery are still candidates for oncoplastic surgery.

Women with very small breasts and those who smoke heavily are not ideal candidates for oncoplastic surgery. Oncoplastic surgery is not recommended for women who require mastectomy to safely remove the entire tumor, or for women unable to undergo radiation treatment. Your breast surgeon can help determine if this approach is right for you.

 

Nebraska Medicine now offers oncoplastic surgery to appropriate candidates.

What are my breast surgery options at Nebraska Medicine?

Nebraska Medicine now offers oncoplastic surgery to appropriate candidates, along with multiple other breast cancer surgery and reconstruction options. Remember – treating breast cancer is our main concern. You, along with your breast oncology team, will decide which option works best for you.

Dr. Vetro aims to improve treatment for cancer patients

Image with caption: Joseph Vetro, Ph.D.

Joseph Vetro, Ph.D.

Joseph Vetro, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, wants his research to impact patients. Publication is great, yes. But what does it mean if it doesn’t eventually help people?

And Dr. Vetro believes that technology to effectively deliver RNA interference molecules (RNAi) can improve treatment for cancer patients. RNAi could be used to suppress gene expression in tumors that causes them to eventually become more resistant to chemotherapy. This could make chemotherapy more effective for people fighting cancer.

The tough part is getting therapeutic levels of RNAi into cancer tumors and metastases. Administered intravenously, RNAi levels end up undetectable, ineffectual.

Dr. Vetro had an idea to increase the potency of RNAi in tumors by forming polymer complexes with cholesterol-modified RNAi. He has preliminary evidence that this works.

But the stuff he’s working on in his lab needs to traverse many steps to get to clinical translation, to people. How does one do this? He needs someone else, a big company, to pick it up and take it the rest of the way, to the marketplace. And to do that? He needs to de-risk it, so it’s a good investment for these companies, by obtaining favorable Phase I clinical trial data. That makes it a better sell.

“You need to get industry to take a serious look at you,” Dr. Vetro said.

To start the process, Dr. Vetro and his wife formed a startup company, Actorius Pharmaceuticals, which recently was awarded National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant with UNMC collaborators Rakesh Singh, Ph.D.; Samuel Cohen, M.D., Ph.D.; Yazen Alnouti, Ph.D.; and Kenneth Cowan, M.D., Ph.D. They’re working to move the technology closer to a Phase I clinical trial in breast cancer patients.

To attract a company, they’re thinking like a company. They are working with a strategic business consultant and have obtained matching economic development funding from the state.

The ultimate end goal is to develop the technology for clinical use. How? “Sub-license the technology to a pharmaceutical company,” Dr. Vetro said.

It’s a strange thing to put so much work into something, to discover it, to nurture it, to have it be yours, only to give it away.

But isn’t that what we do?

“It’s like letting your kids go out into the world,” Dr. Vetro said.

It would be a big day to see the kids all grown up.

 

18 Years and Counting, Nebraska Medicine Wins Consumer Choice Award

11-14-consumer-choice-shieldIt’s once again evident folks in our region choose Nebraska Medicine over our competitors. For the 18th year, we’ve been awarded the National Research Corporation’s Consumer Choice Award, given annually to hospitals across the U.S. that health care consumers choose as having the highest quality and image.

The results for the 2016/2017 edition of the award were determined by consumer perceptions on multiple quality and image ratings collected from the company’s Market Insights Survey, the largest online consumer health care survey in the country. National Research surveys more than 300,000 households in the contiguous 48 states and the District of Columbia. The award is based on the hospital that possesses:

  1. Best overall quality
  2. Best overall image/reputation
  3. Best doctors
  4. Best nurses

“This award reflects the tradition of quality care at Nebraska Medicine,” says Dan DeBehnke, MD, MBA, CEO of Nebraska Medicine. “We will continue our quest for improvement, earning the confidence and trust of our patients and the communities we serve.”

Heart Program Receives National Attention

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Nebraska Medicine Named to Top 100 for Heart Programs

Becker’s Hospital Review named Nebraska Medicine to the 2016 edition of its list, “100 Hospitals and Health Systems with Great Heart Programs.”

The hospitals on this list lead the nation in cardiovascular health care. Many have pioneered ground-breaking procedures and are still pioneering breakthroughs today. All have received recognitions for top-of-the-line patient care.

To develop this list, the Becker’s Hospital Review editorial team examined several reputable ranking and award agencies, including U.S. News & World Report rankings for cardiology and heart surgery, Truven Health Analytics’ cardiovascular hospital rankings, CareChex rankings for cardiac care, Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care, star ratings from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, Healthgrades cardiology awards and Magnet designation. Hospitals included in this list have received marks of distinction from these organizations.

Nebraska Medicine Earns Elite National Quality Award

Excellence Award from Vizient, Inc. for Quality Leadership Performance

Nebraska Medicine is honored to announce its recognition by Vizient, Inc., as a recipient of the 2016 Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD Quality Leadership Award. The award recognizes Nebraska Medicine’s performance among more than 100 academic medical centers participating in Vizient’s Quality and Accountability Study. Thirteen academic medical centers were recognized this year.  Nebraska Medicine is ranked tenth and is the only health system in the region to earn this recognition. The others are:

  • University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics
  • NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Mayo Clinic Hospital-Rochester
  • Froedtert Health-Froedtert Hospital
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • WVU Medicine West Virginia University Hospitals
  • Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
  • Cedars-Sinai Health System
  • Houston Methodist
  • Nebraska Medicine
  • The Ohio State University Wexner Health System
  • University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers
  • University of Vermont Medical Center

“This is truly a special honor for everyone at Nebraska Medicine,” said Dan DeBehnke, MD, MBA, CEO of Nebraska Medicine. “Achieving a Five Star ranking took a tremendous amount of dedication and work from many, many people here.”

This year, more than 100 academic medical centers and 124 community hospitals were included in the study, which reviewed performance data from a variety of sources, including Vizient’s Clinical Data Base, the core measures data base, the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network.

“Nebraska Medicine is dedicated to providing our patients with the highest quality, safest, most efficient and compassionate care available,” said Michael Ash, MD, Chief Transformation Officer, “To achieve a top ten Vizient Quality Leadership rank, among our nation’s elite academic medical centers, is a reflection of our colleagues and their devotion to extraordinary patient care.”

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