Sunday, June 9, 2013


Radiation Therapy for Breast cancer

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy

Intraoperative radiation therapy is a form of partial breast radiation where the radiation is delivered in the operating room after surgeon has removed the tumor.  All the radiation therapy is delivered in one dose, so that there are no visits required afterwards to get radiation therapy.  So the benefits of intraoperative radiation therapy primarily I think is convenience to the patient.  Instead of having to come back for repeated visits to receive the radiation therapy, you get to have it all done at the time of surgery.

So who is eligible for intraoperative radiation therapy.  There is really a whole list of criteria that we use to determine if someone falls in to that highly selective group who would benefit from intraoperative radiation therapy.  So, when a lumpectomy is done, what we usually do is we make an incision on the breasts where the tumor is located then we remove the tumor with some surrounding normal breast tissue.  So what we have left here is a cavity where the tumor was and that is called the tumor bed and then what we would do is to put in the intraoperative radiation delivery device and we synch up the breast tissue around it to make sure there is no space between the delivery device and the breast tissue, then we actually ultrasound it to confirm that we have got good distance from the probe to the skin because we don’t want to image the skin with radiation and then that the radiation is delivered over a period of time usually an average about half an hour, sometimes a little bit longer, sometimes a little shorter and when that is done, we remove the device and we sow everything back up and that’s the end of the procedure.  When we perform this procedure, we have radiation oncologists and radiation physicists who come in and actually deliver the radiation therapy.  They calculate the optimum dose for the size of the cavity that were using and they stay there during the delivery of the radiation to make sure everything goes exactly how it is suppose to go.

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