KOCHI: Those suffering from early or curable stages of breast cancer need not despair. You need not undergo a breast removal or reconstruction.
You can undergo a surgery for removal of the cancerous part and get discharged from the hospital on the third day, according to Dr Thomas Varughese, who has come up with a pioneering surgical technique.
Thomas Varughese is the Head of the Department of cancer surgery and reconstructive surgery division, Lakeshore Hospital.
“Normally in this kind of surgery, we remove the tumour and also the lymph nodes in the armpit (axilla). While the removal of the lymph nodes is the standard procedure, lymphorea or constant collection of fluid in the armpit needs repeated aspirations or suctioning out of the fluid for several weeks,” he explains.
Thomas has devised a method which he has patented as `Thomas Technique’ using saline which will prevent the collection of fluid at the lymph nodes, thus enabling the patient to get back to routine work in a couple of weeks.
“After this procedure, the patient begins rigorous physiotherapy on day two and is advised to do household work rather than take rest.”
Thomas won the international award for the best scientific paper based on this surgical technique at the International Cancer Congress held at Krasnodar, Russia, under the aegis of the World Federation of Surgical Oncology, the apex body of all surgical cancer societies across the globe.
Thomas, who did a randomised control study for 12 years on 700 patients, said that after a conventional breast surgery with drains, the patient remains in hospital till the drains are removed which may be 7 to 15 days depending on the extent of fluid collection.
Even after the removal of drains, seroma can persist for months, he said.
He showed a video recording of the whole treatment at the conference.
“I received a standing ovation because all over the world doctors have been trying out different techniques but nobody has found a cost-effective technique that could help the patient. I will be presenting papers at two other world conferences next month before publishing in a medical journal,” he said.
However, he warns that the new technique can work only if the patient comes to the doctor in an early stage or curable stage.