New one-day treatment for breast cancer
About one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). And in 2013 alone, the ACS estimates there are about 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer in U.S. women, and 64,640 new cases of carcinomia in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed, which is the non-invasive and earliest form of breast cancer.
A newly approved clinical protocol called IntraOperative Electron Radiation Therapy (IOERT) gives women with low-risk, early-stage breast cancer a new treatment alternative. This one procedure allows physicians to treat women successfully for breast cancer in just a single day.
The advantage of IOERT for select patients lies in giving one dose of radiation during a lumpectomy surgery, replacing the 30 treatments normally given post-operatively.
This advanced system for radiation therapy delivers a concentrated dose of radiation directly to a tumor site during cancer surgery while sparing healthy tissue. In the past, patients would wait for four weeks after their surgery before undergoing daily radiation treatment to the breast for up to six to seven weeks.
“We are very excited to offer this outpatient, one-day, comprehensive treatment for select patients with early, low-risk breast cancer,” says Dr. Adam Riker, breast surgeon, principal investigator of the clinical trial and medical director of the Cancer Institute at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill.
Previous studies have shown that a 2-minute dose of radiation is likely as effective as the six weeks of radiation treatment that is currently recommended after a lumpectomy. This same-day, single-procedure model allows surgeons to perform a lumpectomy and then deliver an intense, 2-minute dose of radiation to the lumpectomy site. The radiation is delivered by the radiation oncologists who come into the operating room to deliver the radiation dose.
Patients also receive standard anti-hormonal treatment longer term and are sent home the same day, without being scheduled for any additional surgeries or radiation treatments.
“The use of IOERT has been studied in-depth and is well-established in Europe and Asia. More than 16,000 women with breast cancer have been successfully treated with this form of radiation therapy,” Dr. Riker says.
Dr. Barbara Krueger, medical director of the breast cancer program at the Cancer Institute, helped establish the first IOERT Protocol Group and Registry for breast cancer treatment (PROGAR-Breast) as a way of sharing this protocol with centers throughout the U.S.
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