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Brigham and Women’s Hospital Hosts Webcast Featuring Multidisciplinary Treatment for Breast Cancer

BWH team demonstrates unique regional anesthesia technique and educates on benefits of preoperative chemotherapy in conjunction with breast preserving surgery

BOSTON , MA - On Thursday, October 27, 2005, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) will host a live Webcast that will demonstrate to viewers a multidisciplinary approach to treating breast cancer. This approach will show how the Dana-Farber/BWH Cancer Center brings together pathology, radiology, surgical oncology, medical oncology and radiation oncology to treat breast cancer. The Webcast will highlight a core needle biopsy, preoperative chemotherapy and demonstrate live, the use of regional anesthesia, (para-vertebral block) – a technique frequently used at BWH for breast and axillary surgery (removal of lymph nodes under the arms). In addition, the Webcast will emphasize different approaches to axillary dissection and breast preserving surgery after preoperative chemotherapy.

BWH breast surgeon Beth Lesnikoski, MD, will be performing a complex breast-preserving procedure, with Morana Lasic, MD and Mercedes Concepcion, MD, facilitating the regional anesthesia necessary for this procedure to take place. The biopsies will be performed prior to the live Webcast with the assistance of BWH radiologist Robyn Birdwell, MD. In addition, medical oncologists on the team will administer preoperative chemotherapy. This represents a change in “traditional” treatments in which chemotherapy is commonly administered only after surgery. J. Dirk Iglehart, MD, chief of Surgical Oncology of the BWH and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, will narrate the Webcast.

According to Iglehart, “The multidisciplinary approach to treatment allows a team of medical professionals to better target the many type of breast cancer and improve outcomes for patients. This Webcast underscores the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s medical and surgical team’s rich experience and highlights the end result of a successful collaboration – a tailored treatment plan based on the type of breast cancer our patient is battling. Survival is our ultimate goal and, we believe this approach will ultimately help increase survival rates of women with breast cancer.”

An estimated 211,240 new invasive cases of breast cancer are expected among women in the United States during 2005. As breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death among women and is a disease characterized with many subtypes that do not readily respond to standard therapies, treatment of the disease remains a paramount concern. New treatments that bring together complementary medical disciplines represent some of the latest advancements in treatments. In this Webcast, BWH brings together radiology and pathology for a core biopsy that will be filmed prior to the live event.

“Breast cancer is a highly individualized disease that requires a well-coordinated team approach to best treat the patient,” said Lesnikoski. “This Webcast will directly demonstrate the contributions of the different disciplines, highlight new techniques including regional anesthesia and preoperative chemotherapy and novel approaches to breast preservation and ultimately demonstrate how, with these treatments combined, we can improve outcomes for our patients.”

For this surgery, camera crews will be present, filming the procedure, in one of BWH’s state-of-the-art operating rooms. To learn more about this and BWH Webcasts, www.brighamandwomens.org/surgerywebcast.

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About Brigham and Women's Hospital

BWH is a 755-bed nonprofit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of Partners HealthCare System, an integrated health care delivery network. Internationally recognized as a leading academic health care institution, BWH is committed to excellence in patient care, medical research and the training and education of health care professionals. The hospital’s preeminence in all aspects of clinical care is coupled with its strength in medical research. A leading recipient of research grants from the National Institutes of Health, BWH conducts internationally acclaimed clinical, basic and epidemiological studies. For more information about BWH, please visit: www.brighamandwomens.org.

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