Standard Radiation Therapy & Mammosite Targeted Therapy
The majority of women who have a breast cancer removed with breast conserving surgery require radiation therapy after surgery in order to help prevent recurrence of cancer in both invasive and non-invasive breast cancers. Studies have shown that not having radiation increases the risk of recurrence.
Until recently follow-up traditional radiation involved going to therapy 5 days a week for 5-7 weeks.
What happens in traditional radiation therapy?
Before you start the actual radiation, careful measurements are made to focus the radiation. Ink marks are made on the breast. For each treatment, you are positioned on the treatment table and then the radiation therapist leaves the room to give the treatment -- much like having an x-ray. An external beam is focused on the marked areas for a few minutes each treatment. (The treatment takes longer than a few minutes because of the setup/positioning, etc.) The treatment itself is painless, but as the skin reddens over the course of treatment, it can be very tender like a sunburn. Sometimes the radiation therapist can suggest prescription ointment or give other suggestions to help reduce any discomfort.
Mammosite: An Alternative for Some Women with Early Breast Cancer
Mammosite is effective for certain types and stages of breast cancer. It is a targeted radiation system that allows women to complete their radiation therapy twice a day in 5 days instead of the usual 6 weeks.
Dr. Tejpar, an Orlando are breast cancer surgeon, was one of the first breast surgeons in Central Florida to obtain training to insert the Mammosite system. She is very committed to providing the highest quality care and also does everything possible to reduce discomfort for her patients. She saw this as an opportunity to provide both for those women who qualify for the treatment.
With Mammosite, a small flat balloon is placed in the cavity left where the breast cancer was removed. A small catheter goes from the balloon and part of it will stick out of the breast during treatment. It will be covered with gauze to prevent movement. The balloon is inflated with saline solution. When you go for treatment, a computer controlled machine places a tiny radioactive seed through the catheter and into the balloon. The seed is then removed and another placed the following day so the exposure to the radiation is limited and there is no exposure to your family members. At the end of the5 day therapy, the balloon is deflated and easily removed. In the initial clinical trials with Mammosite patients were very satisfied.
" When queried regarding satisfaction with MammoSite balloon catheter brachytherapy, 100% of patients rated their satisfaction as good–excellent. When asked if they would use the MammoSite brachytherapy treatment again, or if they would recommend MammoSite balloon brachytherapy to a friend or family member, 100% responded affirmatively. "
Five-year results: the initial clinical trial of Mammosite balloon brachytherapy for partial breast irradiation in early-stage breast cancer
The American Journal of Surgery, Volume 194, Issue 4, Pages 456-462
P. Benitez, M. Keisch, F. Vicini, A. Stolier, T. Scroggins, A. Walker, J. White, P. Hedberg, M. Hebert, D. Arthur
While convenience and comfort are advantages to this system, the most important is that the radiation is delivered precisely to the tissue where the breast cancer tumor was from within the breast itself. It minimizes radiation to tissue where it is not needed and reduces exposure of ribs and other organs.
Ask your surgeon which treatment method would be right for you. Below are brochures you can download from the Mammosite.com website:
* Patient Brochure: "Moving Breast Cancer Treatment Forward " - English PDF (PDF, 639K)
* Folleto Para Pacientes: "Avances en el tratamiento del cáncer de mama " - Spanish PDF (PDF, 3600K)
Dr. Nafisa A. Tejpar hereby states that she does NOT have any financial relationship to Hologic, Inc., the company that produces Mammosite devices.