Why Breast Brachytherapy?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer found in women, accounting for approximately 200,000 cases annually. Our goal is to save women’s lives, while eliminating negative side effects through the use of innovative and improved treatments. Breast brachytherapy is one such innovation—a type of radiation therapy that prevents unnecessary radiation exposure to normal tissue. This treatment option is particularly effective in women who have early-stage breast cancer. Breast brachytherapy has been shown to effectively control and destroy cancerous tissue while preserving healthy breast tissue.
Breast Brachytherapy Overview
When breast cancer recurrences happen, they often appear in the same area as the original tumor. Breast brachytherapy is a treatment that allows the physician to give a concentrated radiation treatment in the exact area of concern, reducing the risk of recurrence in the same area while minimizing the radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissues.
After the patient's surgeon removes the cancerous tissue during a lumpectomy procedure, a balloon catheter is placed into and inflated within the lumpectomy area, either at the time of the lumpectomy or in a second procedure within 10 weeks of the original surgery.
A customized radiation treatment plan is then developed to direct a small radiation source through the special catheter. This radiation source is placed within the balloon catheter for a pre-determined amount of time, twice daily over a span of five days. After the last treatment, the balloon catheter is deflated and removed. Side effects are minimal and may include temporary discomfort from the balloon device.
Following treatment, most patients are able to quickly resume normal activities.
Advantages of Breast Balloon Brachytherapy
- Eliminates inconvenient hospital stays: Treatment is given on an outpatient basis.
- Shortened treatment schedule: Instead of five to seven weeks using traditional radiation treatments, breast brachytherapy treatments are performed over five days.
- More efficient and effective treatment: Breast brachytherapy delivers a high dose of radiotherapy directly to the tissue most at risk, thereby reducing damage to healthy tissue.
- Decreased risk of side effects: Because the source of radiation is small and localized, side effects are minimal.
When is Breast Brachytherapy Appropriate?
Making important decisions regarding your treatment isn't always easy. That's why the Avera Breast Center gives you the confidence that comes from having access to a comprehensive array of medical professionals. During a weekly breast conference, our interdisciplinary team reviews each case of breast cancer to fully discuss and explore options and share knowledge for each patient.
This teamwork approach ensures that every treatment option is explored and evaluated to best fit your unique needs.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, we encourage you to discuss breast brachytherapy as a treatment option with your surgeon, breast health navigator, medical oncologist or radiation oncologist.
For more information about breast brachytherapy, please call us toll-free at 1-877-AT-AVERA. Read more about other radiation therapy treatments for cancer patients.
Notice About Treatment Options
All treatment options may not be right for you. You must consult your physician to determine the best treatment options for you.