Breast Cancer Treatment Is Reduced To 1 Week

Armen Hareyan's picture

Mary Hospital will offer a new clinical study by Xoft using electronic brachytherapy for the treatment of early stage breast cancer. The study involves the delivery of a safer form of radiation to breast cancer patients that will reduce the average treatment time from seven weeks to just one week.

Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy System uses a small electronic, low-energy X-ray source that delivers controlled radiation treatment directly to the targeted area. It is similar to another known procedure called Mammosite, but uses a different type of radiation. The Electronic Brachytherapy System uses a balloon-like device, which is implanted at the targeted area. Twice a day for five days, the balloon is expanded and a miniature X-ray tube is inserted.


Little Company of Mary is the first community hospital in Illinois to offer the study, joining only nine other sites in the country that offer the treatment. "I am proud to bring this new technology to Little Company of Mary and offer the women in Chicago's Southwest community a new and safer form of radiation therapy for the treatment of breast cancer," said radiation oncologist Dr. Adam Dickler. Dr. Dickler was the study's principal investigator when it was first offered in Illinois prior to arriving at Little Company of Mary in October.

Dr. Dickler says the major benefit for patients is the largely reduced treatment time, which would help many women receive the treatment they need without having to undergo therapy for seven weeks. A key component that sets this therapy apart is that electronic brachytherapy uses an electronic source of radiation instead of radioactive isotopes. This allows the X-ray source to be turned on and off at will, and benefits patients because of its decreased radiation exposure to vital organs such as the heart and lungs.

Another advantage includes the change in treatment settings. Patients will now be able to receive their treatments in a comfortable room setting with their physician, instead of being separated in a shielded room alone while the physician distributes the treatment from another area.

Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy System is approved by the FDA for the treatment of early stage breast cancer. Women who are in this stage and are over the age of 50 may be eligible to participate in the study.