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Radiation can be part of breast cancer surgery

Radiation can be part of breast cancer surgeryA new treatment trial is giving patients their radiation during a breast-conserving lumpectomy procedure, and not after.

A breakthrough for early-stage breast cancer patients with invasive ductal carcinoma, Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) may enable women to forego burdensome, fatiguing traditional radiation treatment every weekday for five to six weeks in favor of having radiation at the time of surgery.

Conducted by doctors at Rose Medical Center in Colorado, the trial included women 40 years or older with invasive ductal carcinoma that the surgeon confirmed had not spread to the lymph nodes. More than a dozen patients so far have had the procedure at Rose.

During the lumpectomy, the surgeon places a radiation source into the lumpectomy cavity, using lower-energy x-ray technology so that medical providers can remain in the room with the patient.

“The skin may be slightly pink after the procedure, although oftentimes not. But nothing like we used to see with the entire breast being sunburned,” said Dr. Barbara Schwartzberg of the Rose Medical Center.

An overview of the IORT procedure can be found on the Mayo Clinic website. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America website features a short video of the treatment and additional information.


February 24, 2012