Development of an intra-surgical decision support system for use by breast cancer surgeons to identify tumour margin

Researchers: Dr. M. Farquharson

Dr. Farquharson


Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women. There is a need to optimize the speed and accuracy of diagnosis and maximize efficiency in treatment of the disease. This proposal will contribute to the efficiency of breast cancer surgery and speed up initial assessment procedures. The goal of breast cancer surgery is to remove the tumour tissue and leave healthy tissue in place. Finding the tumour/ healthy border can be difficult for the surgeon. We aim to develop a system that can examine a small piece of the breast tissue during surgery or from initial biopsy. The work uses two techniques, an optical spectroscopy and fluorescence system and the Margin Analysis X-ray System (MAXS). The output from these systems will inform the surgeon if the borders or margins have been reached, or inform the clinician if the biopsy is benign or malignant. The work fits with JCC priorities of improving cancer control by developing research programs and expertise. The study will involve experienced researchers in the Department of Medical Physics at McMaster University and experienced breast cancer surgeons and pathologists at St. Josephs Hospital and the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC) in Hamilton. The output of this work will benefit breast cancer patients resulting in more efficient surgery, reducing the number of cases where repeat surgery is needed. It will also enable a faster initial diagnosis which will not only increase the speed at which a patients treatment can be planned but also reduce patient anxiety.
pic for Farquharson research