School of Oncoplastic Surgery Shows the Way to Better Breast Cancer Care

Dr. Gail Lebovic
Dr. Gail Lebovic founded the School of Oncoplastic Surgery

Among the many improvements in the care of women who have breast cancer, one of the most promising is oncoplastic surgery.

This approach combines methods to remove cancer with reconstructive techniques to insure complete tumor control. At same time it achieves better aesthetic outcomes.

This month’s upcoming School of Oncoplastic Surgery will help surgeons develop new skills they can use when performing breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) on patients with breast cancer. The three-day course will be held Jan. 22-24, 2016 in Dallas.

The 2016 version of the school is sponsored by the National Consortium of Breast Centers, the Senologic International Society, and the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine.

The course provides a spectrum of skills for attendees. Through a sculpture lab, anatomy lab and interaction with live models, surgeons learn essential tools with hands-on experiences. Panel discussions and case presentations also allow surgeons to openly discuss challenges they face in their practices, and to learn various ways to address complex clinical situations in cancer care.

The founder and leader of the school is Dr. Gail Lebovic. She’s a past president of the American Society of Breast Disease, recipient of several distinguished awards and the inventor of multiple successful medical technologies in women’s healthcare.

“The current training in general breast surgery falls short on providing in-depth knowledge or skills training in some critical areas needed to achieve consistently good cosmetic results,” said Dr. Lebovic, who currently serves as Chief Medical Officer for Focal Therapeutics, Inc. “Providing an avenue for breast surgeons to learn these techniques was the original idea behind starting this course.”

Among breast-cancer companies exhibiting at the school are Focal Therapeutics (BioZorb tissue marker), Agendia (genomic testing), Dune Medical (surgical margin detection) Genomic Health (genomic testing), IntraOp (mobile intraoperative radiation therapy), Willowglade Technologies (personalized patient experience platform), and Invuity (surgical cavity visualization).

General surgeons perform at least half of the breast cancer surgeries in the U.S.  More than 30 percent of lumpectomy cases result in major deformities and asymmetries.

In an effort to improve overall results following breast cancer surgery, the American Society of Breast Surgeons recently included a recommendation for use of oncoplastic techniques within its newly published “Toolbox to Reduce Lumpectomy Reoperations and Improve Cosmetic Outcome in Breast Cancer Patients.”

“This unique course meets an important need, particularly for the many active surgeons who have never received training in oncoplastic surgery,” said Jennifer S. Gass, M.D., president of the National Consortium of Breast Centers. “By making this teaching available to surgeons throughout the country, it also helps NCBC meet its goal of giving more women access to the very best in breast surgery.” Dr. Gass is Chief of Surgery at Women & Infants Hospital (Providence, R.I.) and Director of the Breast Health Center Program in Women’s Oncology, at Women & Infants.

“Women are living long healthy lives after having treatment for breast cancer – so a good cosmetic outcome goes hand in hand with a good quality of life,” Dr. Lebovic said. “Our goal is to have the surgeons leave this program with new knowledge and skills they can apply daily in their practice, and to provide them with a world wide network of expert colleagues they can rely on to discuss techniques and confer with about difficult cases.”

There’s more information about the school here.

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