Through The Valley Of Death: Hidden Scars Of Breast Cancer Survivors


MEADOWBROOK, Pa., Oct. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Holy Redeemer Health System is the first hospital in the Northeast region recognized as a Center of Excellence for Hidden Scar™ Breast Cancer Surgery. Hidden Scar nipple-sparing mastectomy is a significant advancement in how breast cancer surgeries are performed.  New technologies enable this procedure which decreases trauma to the skin flaps as cancerous tissue is removed through a single concealed incision to minimize visible scarring.

"A breast cancer diagnosis not only threatens a woman's life, it creates fear and emotional trauma. Maintaining the 'normal' appearance of the breast post-mastectomy and reconstruction allow patients to begin the healing process," said Dr. DuPree, a renowned breast surgeon at Holy Redeemer Health System and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Surgery at The University of Pennsylvania. Dr. DuPree is a recognized expert in breast cancer care and she travels nationally and internationally teaching these procedures to breast surgeons with enabling technologies. 

This procedure provides the best clinical and aesthetic results, leaving the least amount of visible scarring. The scar is in an inconspicuous area, either along the edge of the nipple or along the underside of the breast.

"I am humbled and honored to be teaching these new, minimally invasive surgical techniques with my colleagues," said Dr. DuPree. "There were multiple surgical approaches that we could have adopted for nipple-sparing mastectomies, but from inception at Holy Redeemer, we chose a more challenging approach to this procedure that affords the patient a hidden scar and less of a daily emotional reminder of her cancer. Although this approach is surgically challenging, it gives the patient the best results and that's what matters," said Dr. DuPree.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, and each year, 232,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer that requires surgery. [1]   In the Philadelphia area alone, there are 5,655 new cases of breast cancer each year. [2]

The most significant advancement change in breast cancer surgeries in the past five years relates to the nipple-sparing mastectomy. The Hidden Scar approach removes the underlying breast tissue while preserving the nipple-areolar complex and breast envelope. The inframammary (the crease beneath the breast) fold incision is a preferred incision location for breast and plastic surgeons due to its ability to hide any scar. This safe approach can be utilized in patients seeking risk reduction mastectomy (prevention because of a strong family history or carriers of the BRCA gene), in women with DCIS (non-invasive cancer), or small tumors that do not lie directly beneath the nipple. With this procedure there is no need for the nipple to be reconstructed or tattooed later.

Patients who undergo the Hidden Scar approach are at no higher risk of recurrence than patients who undergo any other type of mastectomy.  Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery may also be appropriate for patients undergoing breast-conserving (lumpectomy) and sentinel lymph node biopsy procedures. Qualification for each approach depends on a patient's tumor size and location, breast shape, size and her personal choice in many cases.

The two enabling technologies used by Dr. DuPree and her partners to assist in surgery that hides their scars include:

  • Invuity's intra-cavity illumination devices integrate Intelligent Photonics™ technology, which allows the surgeon to make a single inframammary incision and clearly visualize deep into the surgical cavity all the way to the axilla (armpit).
  • PEAK PlasmaBlade developed by Medtronic. The PEAK PlasmaBlade uses radiofrequency (RF) low temperature energy delivered across a very small surface area, giving surgeons the ability to control bleeding while cutting. The PEAK PlasmaBlade can offer improved surgical incision healing with reduced inflammation, decreased post-operative drainage and improved aesthetics.

In 2006, Dr. DuPree wrote the book The Healing Consciousness: A Doctor's Journey to Healing which focuses on combining the wisdom of Eastern medicine with the art of Western medical technologies. Dr. DuPree strongly urges her patients to integrate healing therapies, whether it is through guided imagery, lifestyle modification, yoga and reflexology. 

Because of her strong focus on integrative medicine, Dr. DuPree created the Healing Consciousness Foundation, which funds holistic and wellness therapies for women and men living with a breast cancer diagnosis.

Holy Redeemer Comprehensive BreastCare Surgeons include: Beth DuPree, MD, Stacy Krisher, MD, Catherine Carruthers, MD, and Amanda Woodworth, MD, renowned for their holistic approach to the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. These surgeons work at Holy Redeemer Women's HealthCare at Southampton (, the first of its kind in the area, combines state-of-the-art medical care, diagnosis and treatment of breast disease, along with services generously provided by the Healing Consciousness Foundation ( at no cost to breast cancer patients.

Dr. DuPree, MD, Vice President of HRHS Overseeing Surgical Services, Women's Health and Medical Director of Integrative Health and at Holy Redeemer Health Systems

Dr. DuPree's skin-sparing mastectomies were featured live on the Internet in October 1999, This Webcast and subsequent television documentary received a coveted Gracie Allen Award in New York City in April 2000. Additionally, Dr. DuPree was given the Clara Barton Humanitarian Award from the American Red Cross for her ongoing contributions to the treatment of breast cancer in 2002. Dr. DuPree was previously the Chairman of The Board of Advocates for the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBS). She serves on the advisory board for, and was Philadelphia Magazine's first-ever-reader-voted "Philly's Health Hero" in November 2012, for her work in breast cancer care. She received an inaugural REAL award in April 2013, and was named one of More Magazine's TEN Fierce Females in April 2013. Dr. DuPree is a prominent keynote speaker, primarily addressing women's health issues, breast cancer, healing and wellness. She has been a frequent expert on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and The Today Show.

Take Action:

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Holy Redeemer's Healthlink blog will be running articles every Friday in October where Dr. DuPree is a featured blogger discussing breast cancer issues.  The key to fighting breast cancer is detection, so get screened today with same day mammography results at, learn more about breast care at Holy Redeemer Health System at and

About Holy Redeemer Health System

With an emphasis on providing a continuum of care, Holy Redeemer Health System remains true to the mission to care, comfort and heal that its sponsors, the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer, began in our region in 1924 – to provide high quality, compassionate care. Today, Holy Redeemer offers a wide range of healthcare and health-related services, including an acute care hospital, home health and hospice services, two skilled nursing facilities, personal care, a retirement community, low-income housing, an active living community, and a transitional housing program for homeless women and children. With corporate offices in Huntingdon Valley, PA, Holy Redeemer Health System is a Catholic healthcare provider, serving southeastern Pennsylvania and 12 counties in New Jersey, from Union County south to Cape May County.

[1] U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics. May 11, 2015. Web. August 19, 2015.

[2] Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen (2014). Quantitative Data: Measuring Breast Cancer Impact in Local Communities.


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