Partial breast irradiation method for breast cancer shortens treatment time to five days.
The treatment of breast cancer has become increasingly less invasive over the past several decades. More women than ever are opting for breast conservation therapy rather than a more invasive mastectomy. Still, breast conservation requires the use of radiation therapy after surgery. Conventional radiation therapy involves daily brief treatments to the breast over a six week period. This extended treatment regimen can be particularly difficult for some women, due to transportation issues, limited mobility, or absence of a nearby radiation therapy facility.
There is now a 5-day treatment option available for many women, using a technique called partial breast irradiation.
This technique, using a special balloon catheter, has been available since 2002, and already, over 90,000 women have been treated nationwide. The balloon catheter device is placed as an office procedure following surgery, or occasionally at the time of surgery. The balloon can be inflated to variable sizes to accommodate the individual cavity. An 192Ir radiation source, connected to a computer-controlled high-dose rate (HDR) remote afterloader, is inserted into the balloon to deliver the prescribed dose of radiation. This is similar to the method used for prostate cancer brachytherapy, using radioactive seeds. Treatments are given twice daily for five days. Once the therapy is concluded, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed.
Studies have shown cosmetic results to be good/excellent in about 90% of patients. Patient satisfaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Most insurance plans cover this option.
Partial breast irradiation has been available at DeKalb Surgical Associates now for about 12 years. Thus far, we have treated about 320 women over the past 12 years with excellent results. We have also evaluated women who have already had their breast conserving surgery elsewhere, who were not offered partial breast irradiation therapy as an option, or were told they were not candidates for this option. Some of these women were able to undergo this less invasive option after being evaluated in our office.
If you are interested in exploring this option further, even if you have already had your surgery, call our office at 404-508-4320 for a consultation.
Here is a copy of an Atlanta Business Chronicle regarding DeKalb Surgical Associates and MammoSite. Atlanta Business Chronicle – July 24, 2006
http://atlanta.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2006/07/24/focus9.html or follow our internal link to the same article.