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SSM Health doctors first in world to use new breast cancer removal technology

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MADISON (WKOW) — As Breast Cancer Awareness Month wraps up this week, we’re getting a look at a new technology that’s helping doctors provide better care for patients.

SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison is the first in the world to use SmartClip.

It works like a GPS system, helping surgeons get to the cancer cells more easily, to remove the tumor with fewer procedures.

“Breast cancer therapies have changed dramatically over the last even 10 to 15 years. And I think it just shows how we’re continuing to progress and learn and do better job for patients,” said Dr. Dana Henkel, a surgeon at SSM Health.

Dr. Henkel was the first doctor to test the device and start using it for patients. The hospital has used SmartClip for more than 20 people so far.

“This is much more precise, I can put this device right on the patient and know exactly within millimeters of where that is,” she said.

Cheryl Hintze was one of the first patients doctors used the SmartClip on earlier this summer.

“You want to do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t come back and to know that we’re going to clear those margins so easily, get it out and I could move on. I just considered myself lucky. I have no other way to describe it,” she told 27 News.

The Sun Prairie woman says her recovery was fast and she’s already finished her radiation.

Hintze is grateful she got a mammogram, to catch the cancer early, even though doctors are only recommending them every other year now, and she had no family history.

“Why not take every step I can?” Hintze said. “Thank God they got it before it had spread. They got it when it was still small. And I never missed a day at work except for right after the procedure, so please get your mammograms, even if you think, ‘oh, that’s fine. I don’t have any family history.’ Do it.”

The Midwest-based developer, Elucent Medical, hopes SmartClip will some day expand to help identify other types of cancer.

“There’s been a lot of interest around the market with physicians in how they deliver their therapies and how do they titrate into the precise location of where that cancerous lesion would be,” said Ginger Sands-Herrmann, chief customer officer for Elucent Medical.

Right now, SmartClip is being used in eight hospitals, including St. Mary’s in Madison.

Jennifer Kliese

Weekend Anchor and Reporter, 27 News

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