The Royal Marsden

The shape of things to come: lumpectomies and 3D imaging

The Royal Marsden has opened an innovative new trial with the aim of helping women feel better prepared before breast cancer surgery
Miss Jennifer Rusby is a Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon

Miss Jennifer Rusby is a Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon

Researchers are investigating the use of three-dimensional surface imaging for simulating the likely appearance of a woman’s breast after lumpectomy surgery.

“Patients told us that they felt scared going into surgery as they didn’t know what to expect afterwards,” said Miss Jennifer Rusby, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon. "If we can show them a simulation of their likely appearance before they have the operation, they may go into surgery with less anxiety.”

The 3D surface imaging is done with a VECTRA machine – a system of six cameras that take pictures simultaneously, from which software can build a 3D image to simulate the possible appearance after breast-conserving therapy.

The Trust is recruiting 117 breast cancer patients to the trial that involves having images taken before surgery, at three, six and 12 months after treatment, and then annually for five years.

“We expect to have preliminary results by the end of this year, with long-term results due in five years,” said Amy Godden, Breast Surgery Clinical Research Fellow.

The trial is being funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, thanks to a generous donation by the Pink Ribbon Foundation, as well as the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Royal Marsden and the Institute of Cancer Research.

A patient's perspective

Vivienne Legister, 50

“When I turned 50 earlier this year, I was invited to attend my first mammogram appointment.

“I hadn’t experienced any pain or discomfort beforehand so was very shocked when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Before undergoing a lumpectomy at The Royal Marsden in May 2017, I signed up to the 3D simulation study.

“The researchers need to start somewhere in order to help other people in the future.

“It gave me a better idea of what to expect – it really did reassure me. The 3D simulation was more or less spot on and I’m feeling good about the result.”