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Roper St. Francis offers new service that makes breast cancer therapy more effective

There's a new surgical option for women battling breast cancer. Doctors at Roper St. Francis say a new device makes radiation therapy less invasive and more effective.

There's a new surgical option for women battling breast cancer. Doctors at Roper St. Francis say a new device makes radiation therapy less invasive and more effective.

Last May, Judy Hubbard received a call she'll never forget.

She had breast cancer.

"It was scary," Hubbard said. "My children were nervous, my sisters were nervous, my husband was nervous."

Her diagnosis struck a chord since her mother died from breast cancer 17 years ago. But fear quickly turned into hope when they learned it was Stage 1 breast cancer with a positive prognosis.

She needed a lumpectomy but for her radiation therapy, Dr. Paul Baron (a surgical oncologist at Roper St. Francis) encouraged Hubbard to try something new. He suggested using a device called Biozorb.

"It has a lot of benefits to it," Baron said. "It's a very novel concept."

The spiral device is made of polylactic acid and eventually dissolves in the body, leaving behind tiny titanium clips. Baron said the clips mark the tumor site, providing an exact location to spot-treat the cancer.

"It has so many benefits for the patient," he said. "There's a better cosmetic result. It helps me, as a surgeon, to show the radiation therapist where the tumor was and in many cases it can shorten the course of radiation therapy."

Hubbard said instead of eight weeks of radiation, she only had four. Her recovery did not require any cosmetic surgery.

"I was able to keep up with my lifestyle, I was able to keep active and do what I like to do with a shorter treatment. I didn't get that fatigue that's typical with radiation or the burn that can happen," she said. "Now I'm a survivor."

Officials say Roper St. Francis is the only hospital in South Carolina currently using Biozorb.

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