MOLLI takes wire out of breast cancer surgery

The new MOLLI technique uses a tiny magnet that is injected into the breast to mark where the cancer is according to where it can be seen on the mammogram.
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 10:34 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Breast cancer is the second leading cancer death in women overall, behind skin cancer.

However, breast cancer is the #1 cause of cancer death among Hispanic women.

Dora Sanchez of Plainview says she is so glad she made the time for a mammogram because that’s how her cancer was discovered. And she is grateful that she could benefit from a new procedure in Lubbock to help get the cancer out.

A lumpectomy is often recommended for women who find breast cancer at an early stage.

Dr. Rahman is using a new technique to find and remove the lump with less discomfort to the patient. With this, it means no more inserting a wire to mark the cancer before the surgery.

Dr. Rahman explains, “When we used to have wires, first of all, wire exit out of the breast so it’s sticking out like a flag pole. There’s a 20% fainting rate with that kind of thing.”

Instead, the new MOLLI technique uses a tiny magnet, the size of a sesame seed, which is injected into the breast to mark where the cancer is according to where it can be seen on the mammogram. She says this about the magnet, “It’s so tiny and it can be done a few days before the surgery under local anesthesia. They get this procedure they go home. So on the day of surgery, they come straightaway to the operating room.”

That’s when the surgeon uses a MOLLI wand to find the magnet, then pinpoint the cancer and any surrounding tissue that should be removed as well.

Dr. Rahman explains by pointing to an x-ray of the breast, “Let’s say that the tumor is here and the MOLLI is here. So I can make a decision that I need only one centimeter in front, but I need five in the back. So I don’t need to take anything more than I absolutely have to.”

UMC Cancer Center is where Dora came to have her cancer removed using the Molli technique. It was a same-day surgery after the magnet had been injected at a convenient time earlier that day. We were there at the Cancer Center to see Dora hug Dr. Rahman in an exam room and thank her for a successful procedure. Afterward, Dora told us she learned she will not need chemo, only radiation as a precaution.

Now, Dora has a strong message for her 3 daughters, and others, about how important it is to take the time to look for breast cancer.

She says, “I said it won’t happen to me because I’m healthy, but it could happen to anybody. We’re not exempt from anything.”

Note: The American Cancer Society now recommends that by age 45, every woman should begin yearly mammograms, but you may need to be checked at 40 or earlier if you have a family history of the disease.