Studies have shown that giving radiation therapy to the breast after a lumpectomy helps keep cancer from recurring. Partial breast irradiation (PBI) delivers radiation directly to the site where the tumor was removed, targeting the area where the cancer would most likely recur and sparing healthy tissue. PBI is given two times a day for five days. Whole breast irradiation (WBI), which has been the standard therapy after lumpectomy, usually requires six to seven weeks of daily treatments.
One of the methods for delivering partial breast radiation for early stage breast cancer is MammoSite. The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center (UMGCC) was the area’s first cancer center to begin offering partial breast radiation using this technology back in 2003.
With MammoSite, doctors place a balloon catheter into the cavity of the breast where the tumor had been surgically removed. Radiation oncologists then deliver internal radiation into the balloon twice a day for five days. When therapy is completed, the balloon is deflated and the catheter easily removed.
“MammoSite is minimally invasive, has been shown to be safe and can be performed as an outpatient procedure,” says William F. Regine, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “It can significantly reduce the number of daily radiation treatments and their impact on healthy areas of the body.”
For more information, contact the Department of Radiation Oncology at 410-328-6080.