Possible breakthrough in breast cancer treatment

January 20, 2010 9:54:30 PM PST
The treatment uses microwaves to kill and shrink breast tumors. It's based in part on the same technology used in President Reagan's old Star Wars Defense Initiative.

Researchers don't know why it works, but they're astounded that it does.

"This therapy is a major advancement for women with later stage breast cancer," said William Dooley, M.D., a researcher at the OU Cancer Institute and the director of surgical oncology at OU Medicine.

The treatment improves the effectiveness of chemotherapy, especially on large tumors.

They shrunk so dramatically that the percentage of patients needing mastectomies went from 75 percent to just seven percent.

One nurse who underwent the treatment avoided a mastectomy and got back her health.

"I'm proud to say I'm an 8 year survivor of breast cancer," she said.

The study appears in Annals of Surgical Oncology.