JCHC Expands Breast Cancer Surgery Services

Surgeon holding Magseed surgical device

Jefferson County Health Center (JCHC) has partnered with Endomag to bring innovative breast cancer technologies to Southeast Iowa, helping to improve the standard of care for the entire region.

The new technological offerings are Magseed® and Magtrace®, a localization marker and tracing agent. Both tools offer improved accuracy for the surgeon, and greater convenience for the patient. Dr. Scott Stoeger, general surgeon at JCHC, is well-versed in their function and was instrumental in bringing the technology to JCHC.

“Magseed offers a leap forward in breast cancer localization technology. Now instead of a painful guidewire being inserted immediately before surgery, Magseed can be placed days, weeks, or even months ahead of surgery in a simple 15-minute procedure,” said Dr. Stoeger. “It gives us greater flexibility when developing the treatment plan for the patient.”

The Magseed marker is a tiny seed that is inserted into tissue by a radiologist days or weeks before surgery. During surgery, the surgeon detects the seed using a probe and allows for localization of the tumor cells. Magseed is a marked improvement over the traditional guidewire method of cancer marking. Guidewires carry the risk of migrating before surgery, making localization difficult. Studies show that Magseed results in less time in surgery and lower pain levels than traditional guidewire methods.     

Magtrace is the first non-radioactive, dual tracer liquid used to map lymph nodes and help determine cancer progression and staging. Unlike traditional methods, Magtrace can be injected during surgery, days, or even a week before surgery. The tracer allows the surgeon to accurately target lymph nodes for removal and biopsy.

Dr. Stoeger also highlighted patient benefits for Magtrace. “The new tracer is just as accurate as our ‘gold standard’ traditional methods, and offer several patient advantages. Namely, this tracer is non-radioactive [unlike other methods], and patients report less pain during the injection.”

Magseed and Magtrace were developed by Endomag, a global technology company focused on developing new ways to treat cancer. “I am delighted that we are able to work with more and more hospitals to help them bring our technologies to patients, allowing them to experience improved outcomes after their cancer surgery, and even prevent surgery in some cases. We are excited to see our network continue to grow so that patients across the world are able to have a better standard of cancer care,” said Eric Mayes, CEO of Endomag.

The introduction of these new technologies represents the latest step JCHC has taken in a years-long effort to enhance local breast cancer care. They are the only facility in an 80+ mile radius using Endomag’s tools.

“We want to provide patients a local choice for their cancer diagnosis and treatment. With a state-of-the-art mammography machine, onsite oncology and chemotherapy, trained lymphedema specialists, and now the latest in surgical technology, JCHC is the clear choice in Southeast Iowa for breast cancer care,” said Bryan Hunger, CEO of JCHC.

The Jefferson County Health Center Foundation contributed nearly $30,000 in funding to purchase the new equipment. Trent Hammes, president of the foundation board, said, “The Foundation is proud to support this initiative. When hospital leadership submitted the request, the board quickly made the easy decision to fund this effort.”

Dr. Stoeger offers breast surgeries, including lumpectomies and mastectomies, as well as lymph node biopsies and removal. He is now accepting patients for breast cancer surgical care. JCHC encourages patients interested surgical care to talk with their provider about the options available at the health center.