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New surgery offers hope for those recovering from breast cancer - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

New surgery offers hope for those recovering from breast cancer

Marika Kelderman, Live 5 News

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Many women fighting breast cancer have to have their lymph nodes removed as part of the treatment. It increases their chance of survival, but can also cause a painful and incurable side effect -- Lymphoedema, or the swelling of parts of the body.

But  a new surgery at Roper Hospital is helping women fight the bad effects of lymph node removal, and keep the benefits.

Jane Dinnan was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of last year. She underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and had 17 lymphnodes removed. It left her cancer free but suffering from sever lymphoedema in her left arm and breast.

"Your arm gets very heavy and swollen and your hand and your arm and in my case also my breast is very heavy and swollen with lymphoedema."

For Jane, the condition has been debilitating and common treatments like compression and massage have not helped. "When you are laying there and your aching and your arm is lead and your thinking there is nothing they can do its depressing," she sad.

But she found hope at Roper Hospital and underwent a mastectomy and reconstruction of her breast affected by lymphoedema as well a lymph node transplant, a procedure relatively new in the United States.

Dr. Marga Massey, the surgeon in Jane's surgery, said they moved tissue from other places in her body to reconstruct Jane's breast. "She's going to have tissues from her stomach, her abdomen, the skin and extra fat and some associated lymph nodes from her groin transferred to her chest wall make a brand new breast and for surgical treatment of lymphoedemaThe surgery is lengthy and well take about six hours but the recovery time is relatively short. Jane should be walking and back at home in four days."

While Lymphoedema is not curable, doctors believe the lymph node transplant will greatly reduce Jane's symptoms and she could see relief within two to 3 weeks. For Jane the surgery gives her one more way to fight breast cancer and all that comes with it."

"This is hope. This is a lot of hope. I'm excited and I know a lot of women that are out there suffering is excited to hear about it," said Jane.

Roper Hospital says the transplant can also be used to help those suffering from congenital lymphodemia. A male patient with the condition is schedule to have lymph nodes transplanted from his groin to his lower leg later this week.

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