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Mercy Health using "biozorb" to help preserve breast

A team with Mercy Health is now among the first in our area to use a device, called a biozorb, to improve breast cancer patient's quality of life. (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Local surgeons are using a new device to make a big difference in beating breast cancer.

A team with Mercy Health is now among the first to use a new device in our area that is improving patient's quality of life. The device is small, but can make a big difference.

It changes all phases of cancer care, from discovery to treatment, and even how a breast looks after surgery.

When Claire Long first heard that she had breast cancer, she admitted, "You know cancer is just very scary. I think it makes you focus on your own mortality, and fragility, and all that kind of stuff."

Later her focus shifted to what Dr. Hilary Shapiro-Wright said could give her a better outcome. The device is called a "biozorb."

"So what this is, the clear is the degradable material, and then these little tiny metallic devices are the clips," Dr. Shapiro-Wright said.

The biozorb is placed inside the area where the tumor is removed.

"So what this device does is it allows us to target the radiation, by marking the specific surgical cavity," she said.

It also however does something else in healing. The clips are left one the biozorb is absorbed by the body. It prevents a dent in the breast area where the tumor was removed.

"By giving volume back to the breast to help make the breast look more like it did prior to surgery," Dr. Shapiro-Wright continued.

In addition to that however, it's also making a big difference in another way in women's health by identifying what they call precancerous lesions. It would allow them to know where they are in the breast and follow that later on.

"So patients who have precancerous lesions, we can put these in to the mark the spot for future use and to monitor those areas as well," Dr. Shapiro-Wright said.

Claire Long is now cancer free and thrilled to be sharing an important message with others.

"You must just take you health seriously. It's not something to be fooled around with," she said.

While so much of cancer care she said initially was about survival, this device she said is about not just that, but also improving the lives and look of the breast, in those who survive it.

This is a 3D device and there is also now a flat biozorb for patients that better need that type of design.

Doctors are still learning about side effects. Patients do need to be an appropriate candidate to be able to use this device, meaning only a lumpectomy and radiation are ideal treatment for them.

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