Growing new breast tissue is possible!
Women who have mastectomy as a result of breast cancer feel desperate to do anything to have their breast again. The boldest go under a reconstructive operation which is often related to new scars and new pain.
A breakthough in medical industry gives hope to such women. The revolutionary operation could soon allow women to regrow their breasts after cancer surgery. The new method would create breasts that look and feel more natural and reduce the amount of scarring. And of course it would give women who have endured months of gruelling treatment a huge boost to their confidence.
The statictics on breast cancer is dreadful: only in Britain breast cancer affects more than 45,000 women a year and kills more than 1,000 a month. And about 12,000 women have a mastectomy each year. Terrifying numbers…
The new reconstructive operation, which if proved to be safe could be in widespread use in three years, involves growing breast tissue from cells taken from a woman’s tummy area.
The surgery has already been tested on pigs and gave good results. So, within months it is planned to carry out on women.
Phillip Marzella, of Melbourne’s Bernard O’Brien Institute, said:
We hope it will have a significant impact on the world. We also like to think that it would alleviate the shock that a woman feels when she is diagnosed with breast cancer, to know she could possibly grow her breasts back.’
The method is accomplished in the following way: a bra-cup-shaped chamber is inserted under a woman’s chest skin with 5ml of stem cells, taken from her fat. A blood vessel from under the woman’s arm is redirected through the chamber so that it supplies the area with enough oxygen and nutrients.
In several months the stem cells turn into fat cells and multiply enough to fill the chamber. The chamber is then removed by the second operation. However, the reaseraches hope to create biodegradable devices which could dissolve instead.
In pigs, the entire process lasts six weeks. But in women it might be longer, up to 6-8 months to regrow breast tissue. Australian doctors will test the new technique on five or six volunteers who have had a full or partial mastectomy. Entire breasts will not ne regenerated. All doctors want in the first run is to check that it is possible to regrow fat tissue in the breast area. If larger trials show the method to be safe and effective, it could quickly become a widespread one.
Dr Sarah Cant, of the British charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said the operation was ‘extraordinary’.
The next stage is to see if this technique will be safe and effective in people and only then can we assess its true potential,’ she added. We know that losing a breast can impact a woman’s self-esteem and so any new, potentially improved, breast reconstruction techniques will be very welcome.’
However, there are those who are worried. Anthony Hollander, professor of tissue engineering at Bristol University, warned:
They’ll have to be able to demonstrate a technique that guarantees that all the cancerous cells are removed and none are grown up in the process, so there is still some way to go.’
Well, the news is breathtaking. Hope the technique will prove to be safe and millions of women will be happier.
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