Understanding Partial Breast Radiation Therapy: More Convenient, Less Fatigue

When paired with a lumpectomy, in certain clinical situations, radiation therapy for breat cancer has proven to be as effective as a mastectomy at preventing the return of cancer cells or reoccurrence.

For early-stage breast cancer patients who have undergone a lumpectomy, their treatment plan’s next steps typically involve whole breast radiation therapy.  While very effective, this treatment does have some drawbacks.  For one, it requires a serious time commitment from patients and a daily radiation treatment schedule, which can be tiring to the patient over a series of weeks.

Fortunately, now patients have other options, including the latest breast cancer therapies at Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology (TBRO).

At TBRO, we were the first Tampa Bay cancer treatment centers offering partial breast radiation treatment (breast brachytherapy) to local breast cancer patients.  For select patients, it is an excellent treatment option after lumpectomy since this treatment delivers targeted radiation to the location where the cancer is most likely to recur.

At our Tampa clinic, breast cancer patients can usually complete their SAVI or MammoSite breast cancer treatment in is little as five days.  A soft, small balloon or device is temporarily inserted inside the breast lumpectomy cavity by the surgeon.  A tiny seed, which is the radiation source, is then sent into the device through a tube for several minutes to complete the treatment.  Our patients have reported little or no feeling or discomfort during the procedure and no hospitalization is needed.

Our breast cancer treatment centers work with the very best breast cancer surgeons and the newest breast cancer treatment technologies to help conserve healthy breast tissue. Our Tampa cancer center was the first facility locally to offer breast cancer treatments like SAVI/MammoSite.

Patients who visit our Tampa breast cancer treatment centers for consultation meet with one of our Radiation Oncologists for a complete evaluation and for breast cancer treatment recommendations.

Expert surgical techniques and appropriate patient selection are both essential for the success of partial breast radiation treatment because clear margins have to be present after the tumor is removed and then treatment can be limited to just the original tumor site.  Also, this treatment may be more appropriate for some than others.  For example, because of the size of the device, it is sometimes more precisely implanted in women with larger breasts, and specific characteristics of the tumor also determine if the patient is a good candidate for breast brachytherapy.

However, SAVI is also available to patients with early-stage tumors close to the chest wall or skin who may not typically be a candidate for traditional balloon brachytherapy.

If your breast cancer is in early stages and the tumor size is small, you could be a candidate for five-day targeted radiation therapy.  Consult with your doctors about all the benefits and risks of treatment.  They will evaluate your situation to see if you are a good fit.

Remember, early detection is still vital in fighting cancer, so it is essential to get your mammograms completed on schedule.

More than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us at 850-610-3743, ask us a question, or consult with us to get a second opinion, so you, too, can experience the difference.