Ipswich Hospital Launches SCOUT, a Revolutionary Breast Cancer Saviour

Ipswich Hospital
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Ipswich Hospital has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first public facility in the state to initiate trials of an innovative breast cancer technology known as SCOUT. This breakthrough technology is being hailed as “revolutionary” and promises to redefine breast cancer surgery, offering hope to patients and medical practitioners alike.

A New Era for Breast Cancer Treatment at Ipswich Hospital

In a pioneering move, Ipswich Hospital has commenced trials of the SCOUT Wire-Free Radar Localisation System. The primary objective of this cutting-edge technology is to assist surgeons in precisely locating breast cancers during surgical procedures, significantly reducing the likelihood of missing cancerous tissue, and thereby enhancing patient outcomes.

The introduction of the SCOUT technology has already begun to make a positive impact on breast cancer patients like Tarampa resident Cathy Grant. For many patients, the traditional hookwire procedure on the day of surgery can be distressing and uncomfortable. However, with SCOUT, patients can now avoid this discomfort, as Ms. Grant attested.

How SCOUT Works

The SCOUT Wire-Free Radar Localisation System represents a significant advancement in the treatment and surgical management of breast cancer. Here’s an overview of the technology behind it and how it benefits both doctors and patients:

Technology Overview

  • Radar Localization: The SCOUT system utilises a unique radar signal to locate a reflector, which is about the size of a grain of rice, implanted in the breast tissue. This reflector can be placed at any time during treatment, well before the surgical procedure.
  • True Distance Measurement: It offers true distance measurement capabilities, which help overcome challenges associated with estimating tumor depth and location during surgery. This is particularly useful in supine surgical procedures where the breast anatomy can shift, making precise localisation critical.

Benefits for Doctors and Patients

  • Eliminates Wire Localisation: Traditionally, wire localisation was used to mark a tumor’s location before surgery, which could cause discomfort and anxiety for patients. The SCOUT system eliminates the need for this by using the radar-localized reflector.
  • Increased Precision and Flexibility: By providing accurate, real-time localisation of the tumor, SCOUT allows surgeons to precisely target and remove the tumor while minimizing the removal of healthy tissue. This precision supports better cosmetic outcomes and potentially reduces the need for additional surgeries.
  • Enhanced Patient Comfort and Experience: Since the reflector can be placed well in advance of the surgery and does not require the physical presence of a wire protruding from the skin, patients experience less discomfort and anxiety leading up to their procedure.
  • Operational Efficiency: The ability to place the reflector at any point during treatment and its compatibility with various imaging modalities (like mammography) streamlines the surgical process, making it more efficient and flexible for healthcare providers.

Successful Trial Launch at Ipswich Hospital

The SCOUT Wire-Free Radar Localisation System was initially trialled in December 2023, marking the commencement of a 10-patient trial. Dr. Susan Bell, a breast and endocrine surgeon at the hospital, emphasized the potential benefits for patients’s comfort and the surgery’s success.

Compared to the existing hookwire procedure, SCOUT offers several advantages. Patients no longer require wire insertion shortly before surgery, eliminating the need for both a radiologist and a surgeon on the day of the operation. Dr Bell said that SCOUT is also faster and more efficient than current surgical methods. 

With the introduction of SCOUT technology at Ipswich Hospital, the landscape of breast cancer treatment is undergoing a significant transformation.

Published 7-Feb-2024