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Programs and services:
MammoSite radiation therapy system
Advantages of MammoSite
- Treatment with the MammoSite can be completed in one to five days.
- MammoSite places the radiation source inside the lumpectomy cavity, the space left when a tumor is removed. This delivers radiation to the area where cancer is most likely to recur.
- Radiation is delivered from within the lumpectomy cavity, limiting the amount of radiation to healthy tissue and reducing the potential for side effects.
- The therapy is given on an outpatient basis. No hospital stay is required.
- A clinical study has shown cosmetic results to be good/excellent in 88 percent of patients.
- Patient satisfaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
Facts about breast cancer
- The leading cancer in women is breast cancer.
- It is estimated that one in seven women in the United States will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
- Approximately three million women in the U.S. are living with breast cancer: two million who have been diagnosed and an estimated one million who do not yet know they have the disease.
- An estimated 215,990 cases of invasive breast cancer and 50,481 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) are expected to occur among women in 2004. (An invasive breast cancer is defined as having spread beyond the layer of cells where it started to nearby tissues. DCIS is the earliest form of breast cancer, in which cancer cells are located within a duct and have not invaded the surrounding fatty breast tissue.)
- The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. The majority of new breast cancer cases, nearly 80 percent, occur in women older than age 50.
- White women have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than African-American women; however, African-American women diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to die of the disease.
- When breast cancers are discovered at an early, "localized" stage and treated (the current standard of treatment for early-stage breast cancer is lumpectomy followed by radiation), there is a 97 percent rate of five-year survival.
- The National Cancer Institute has stated that breast-conserving therapy is "preferable" to mastectomy for most early cancer patients. The procedure involves a lumpectomy and examination and removal of the under-arm lymph nodes, followed by a course of radiation therapy.
- Two groups (Fisher et al. and Versonesi et al.) reported in the Oct.17, 2002 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine that women with relatively small breast cancers who were treated with breast conservation surgery plus radiation therapy were as likely to be alive and disease-free 20 years later as women treated with mastectomy.
- Up to 40 percent of patients with early stage breast cancer still opt for a mastectomy, despite comparable long-term recurrence and survival rates.
- The American Brachytherapy Society's 2003 recommendations support the use of partial breast irradiation in women over age 45 with small tumors (three cm or less) who meet other technical criteria.
- When considering patients for treatment with accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) in lieu of whole breast irradiation, the American Society of Breast Surgeons recommends that the woman be over the age of 50 with small total tumor size (two cm or less), among other selection criteria.
- When attention is given to patient selection and adequate brachytherapy quality assurance, the local recurrence rate among accelerated partial breast irradiation treatments is less than five percent.
- Logistical barriers of time and travel with standard whole-breast treatment have pushed a number of women toward the choice of mastectomy (when they would rather preserve their breast) or toward lumpectomy only (where they face an increased risk of in-breast failure).
Methods of breast brachytherapy
For many years, brachytherapy has been provided to breast cancer patients by implanting multiple catheters (tubes) in the breast. After placement, a radioactive seed is delivered into each catheter to treat the target area. The seed is delivered into each catheter twice a day, during a morning session and an afternoon session, typically for five days. The total treatment time for each session is approximately 20 minutes. When treatment is complete, the catheters are removed from the breast.
Balloon catheter brachytherapy
one of the latest advances in the treatment of breast cancer and is currently
the most widely practiced method of brachytherapy.
Partial breast irradiation
One treatment option for patients undergoing breast conservation therapy is partial breast irradiation, also known as limited-field radiation therapy. The most widely practiced method of partial breast irradiation is breast brachytherapy.
Brachytherapy treats the breast using a radiation source that is placed inside the body. This has four important advantages:
- Radiation is delivered from inside the breast directly to the area where cancer is most likely to recur.
- This limits the amount of radiation to healthy tissue, thereby reducing the potential for side effects.
- The therapy can be completed in five days.
- Radiation therapy can be completed before beginning chemotherapy, if prescribed.
Clinical studies of patients treated with breast brachytherapy have demonstrated low local recurrence rates. The most recently published study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute documents a local recurrence rate of one percent at a five year follow-up. This rate was similar to that seen in a group of patients treated with external beam radiation.