Biopsies for breast cancer can be as painful as childbirth for some, but a new radioactive dye is helping surgeons find and remove the cancerous lymph nodes with less discomfort.
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Female Speaker: Carolyn Senegal and Brenda Savoy: two women with one diagnosis; breast cancer. Brenda Savoy: I got very depressed and cried for about two weeks, and then after that I got strong. Female Speaker: Doctors want to make sure the disease hasn't spread to the lymph nodes, the first place cancer may go. Traditionally that means injecting a radioactive tracer while the patient is awake. Brenda Savoy: The injection was very, very painful and very uncomfortable. Dr. Eugene Woltering: This was described to me by some of my women patients as equally painful as having a child, and I said, now wait a minute, you can't have something be that painful and have women want to come back and do this again if they have another lump ever again. Female Speaker: Dr. Eugene Woltering developed another option, a new radioactive blue dye injected painlessly under anesthesia. Eugene Woltering: And when we get to the hot lymph node, it makes it sound that sounds something like this. Female Speaker: in surgery, the new radioactive diode lights up hard to see to lymph nodes that are likely to be cancerous. William Harkrider: The lymph nodes define the spread of the tumor. They help stage the tumor. Female Speaker: In a study the new dye worked just as well as the older version, minus the pain. Now, Carolyn and Brenda have one more thing in common. After months of treatment, they're both cancer-free. I am Melissa Medalie reporting.

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