New Accelerated Radiation Therapy Treatment for Early Stage Breast Cancer Patient Now Available at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Willingboro -- Doctors at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County recently performed their first case utilizing a more advanced, five-day course of radiation therapy for the treatment of breast cancer.
Arnold Baskies, MD, chief of the section of general, oncologic and breast surgery at Lourdes, and Ashraf Youssef, MD, a radiation oncologist with 21st Century Oncology, which provides radiation therapy services to patients at the hospital, used the SAVITM applicator to treat a southern New Jersey woman diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.
"SAVI is an important new tool in the management of our breast cancer patients, because we can deliver breast brachytherapy to more patients than we could with its predecessor while reducing the course to only five days," said Dr. Baskies.
"The great advantage of partial breast irradiation is that it expedites the course of radiation therapy that is recommended following surgery," said Dr. Youssef. "Because SAVI is a multi-catheter device, we can exert far greater control over how radiation is delivered in the breast."
A little more than a generation ago, the standard treatment for women diagnosed with breast cancer was to undergo a mastectomy, or removal of the entire breast. With medical advances, many women with early-stage breast cancer now have the option to save their breast with the removal of the tumor only (lumpectomy), traditionally followed by 5-7 weeks of daily radiation treatments to the entire breast. Research has shown that this treatment protocol is as effective as mastectomy in decreasing the risk of local recurrence, said Dr. Baskies.
However, in addition to possible damage to healthy tissue, whole breast irradiation (WBI), can be time consuming and lead to financial strains including missed work and daily travel costs along with increased stress.
More recently, breast brachytherapy was developed as an alternative to WBI. Brachytherapy is a type of therapy in which radiation is delivered through a single catheter from inside the breast, via a device placed through a surgical incision, explained Dr. Baskies, a seasoned expert in this treatment modality. "The advantage is that the radiation is delivered only to the tissue immediately surrounding the tumor cavity," he explained.
The SAVI device, which was FDA approved in 2006, further refines the older balloon-style catheter brachytherapy. The SAVI consists of a multiple bundle of soft, tiny catheters, which, when inserted through a small incision, can expand and conform to the unique size and shape of the tumor cavity. The radiation dose can be individually controlled through each catheter, allowing precise targeting by the radiation oncologist. The superior dose control provided by SAVI enables women with small lumpectomy cavities or cavities close to the skin – who would be ineligible for treatment with the balloon – to safely receive breast brachytherapy.
The SAVI procedure was developed by Cianna Medical, Inc., a women's health company dedicated to the early treatment of breast cancer.
The Cancer Program at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. The program offers a range of diagnostic and treatment options as well as a numerous patient and a family support services and resources.
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