Studies have shown that early breast cancer treated with lumpectomy and radiation therapy is as successful as surgery removing the entire breast. However, according to Borys Mascarenhas, M.D., fellowship-trained surgical oncologist, “The long duration of traditional whole breast external beam radiation treatments has prompted many patients who live a considerable distance from the treatment center to opt for removal of the entire breast because they are unable to complete radiation therapy. Treatment duration is also an issue for elderly patients, those who work full-time, and others who simply want to put the cancer behind them. For this reason, MammoSite therapy has an important advantage over conventional radiation therapy.”
MammoSite also has the advantage of targeting the area where cancer is most likely to recur, and limiting the amount of radiation to healthy tissue, thereby reducing the potential for side effects.
With MammoSite, Dr. Mascarenhas implants a balloon-shaped catheter in the surgical cavity, either at the time of lumpectomy, or up to 10 weeks post-surgery. Placement of the catheter is performed either during the surgical procedure under general anesthesia, or following surgery under local anesthesia in an outpatient setting.
Radiation therapy is provided at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute Waterman on an outpatient basis, typically with two treatments per day for five days, compared to conventional radiation therapy that requires daily treatments for six to seven weeks. During therapy, a tiny radioactive seed connected to a machine called an afterloader is inserted into the balloon end of the catheter to deliver the radiation therapy. Treatments usually last for 10 minutes or less, and when the course of radiation therapy is concluded the catheter is easily removed.
For more information about radiation therapy treatment options at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute Waterman, please call 352.253.3610.