Latest Breast Cancer Radiation Therapy Cuts Treatment Time

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Breast Cancer Treatment

A small radiation "seed" implanted directly into the breast is the latest treatment option for women with early breast cancer, reducing the prolonged six-week regimen of daily radiation therapy to only five days of treatment.

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The treatment, called the MammoSite Radiation Therapy System, begins with the insertion of a small balloon into the breast cavity created after a lumpectomy (the surgical removal of a breast tumor). Then, the radiation source is inserted by catheter into the woman's breast and left there for about five to ten minutes twice daily. The device targets radiation to the area where tumors are most likely to recur, while minimizing exposure to the rest of the breast and surrounding healthy organs. On the last day of treatment, the balloon catheter is removed, and a small amount of antibiotic and gauze are placed over the site.

"Clinical trial data with a minimum of five years of follow-up show us that partial breast irradiation is no less effective than getting six weeks of whole breast irradiation," said Dr. Hsin Lu, a radiation oncologist at The Methodist Hospital in Houston. "Partial breast irradiation is incredibly more convenient for the patient, and it provides comparable cancer control and cosmetic results. Today, more and more women who have cancerous tumors are looking for treatment options to preserve their breast and to minimize damage to healthy organs. This is the best option I have

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