Monday, 3 March 2014

An Alternative Approach to Breast Health

Radiation therapy has always been known to be safe, precise and popular method of eradicating breast cancer cells after surgery. Traditionally, this method uses high-energy rays 4 weeks after the surgery or lumpectomy in early stages. Now there is a more precise radiation that focuses only on part of the breast. Read about this from the Breast Health Center at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center.

Now there is a more powerful way to administer radiation therapy; it is called "accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI)". This is rapidly becoming an alternative for the traditional method among oncologists. The radiation is applied to only part of the breast and for five days.

The idea behind this innovation is destroy the remaining breast cancer cells after surgery while preserving as much breast tissue as possible.

There are two ways to administering APBI:

1- Internal:

"Breast brachytherapy is an internal form of radiation that requires the placement of a radioactive 'seed' near the affected site in an effort to kill any undetected cancer cells that remain after surgery.
While there are several methods for the radiation to reach the site, one of the more common procedures utilizes a specialized catheter or balloon inserted into the breast tissue. The catheter holds the seed in a targeted area immediately surrounding the lumpectomy site. The device remains in place during the course of APBI treatment, which lasts an average of five days."

2- External:

"External beam radiation treats part of the breast; however, treatment is delivered using the linear accelerator and offers shorter treatment times and can usually be completed in one week. The linear accelerator delivers high-energy X-rays to the exact region of the patient’s tumor. These treatments can be designed in such a way that they destroy the cancer cells while sparing the surrounding normal tissue. It is a preferable method of treatment that minimizes radiation. The precision of the radiation dose is equivalent to approximately half the thickness of a dime.
'The linear accelerator blocks the radiation field from damaging the surrounding healthy tissue with unnecessary exposure,' says Doug Salhani, PhD, FCCPM, board-certified medical physicist at Claxton-Hepburn who works with physicians in planning radiation treatments for cancer patients. “It is highly effective in delivering radiation therapy to odd or irregularly shaped tumors, and is especially beneficial for treating tumors that may be close to or surrounding vital organs that were previously considered untreatable.”

"For more information about the oncology services and breast cancer treatment options offered at Claxton-Hepburn’s Breast Health Center, visit and click 'Services' and 'Breast Health.'"



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