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Stanford Cancer Center radiologists lead their field in advancing breast cancer treatment. By tapping into this deep expertise, the Cancer Center is one of the few hospitals in the country able to provide women with clinical trial access to some of the most exciting recent advances in breast cancer radiation therapy, collectively called partial breast irradiation.
Although whole breast irradiation has a long track record of success in preventing breast cancer recurrence, researchers now believe that it may be possible to achieve similar results while limiting radiation to the region directly surrounding the tumor, where a recurrences are most likely to occur.
Stanford radiologists are carefully selecting patients who may benefit from three different techniques that provided partial breast irradiation: intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), five-day external beam radiation, and MammoSite brachytherapy.
All three of these techniques limit the exposure of healthy tissue to radiation and greatly reduce the time commitment required to receive radiation therapy. In addition to being convenient, rapidly completing radiation therapy also allows you to receive chemotherapy sooner, if appropriate.
Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT)
Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) is the fastest of the three methods for partial breast irradiation, delivering a short burst of high-intensity radiation to the tumor site during lumpectomy surgery.
Five-day external beam radiation
Five-day external beam radiation delivers a higher dose of radiation twice a day for five days following lumpectomy surgery.
MammoSite brachytherapy uses a catheter to temporarily deliver a radioactive seed directly into the breast where the tumor has been removed.
One of my PBI patients was on a Mexican cruise two weeks after her lumpectomy. With the normal protocol, she'd have been coming in every day for six weeks.
-Dr. Fred Dirbas, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgical Oncology