MammoSite® Therapy Allows More Breast Cancer Patients to Keep Their Breasts

March 9, 2009

Statistics show that cure rates for women with early stage breast cancer are the same for those who have a lumpectomy followed by radiation as they are for women who have their entire breast removed in a mastectomy. As Anthony Dragun, MD, a specialist in radiation oncology, explained, “Women overwhelmingly prefer the option of preserving their breast. That used to mean that after the lumpectomy, they had to undergo about six weeks of radiation therapy, Monday through Friday, at a cancer center. That can present a hardship for women who don’t live within a reasonable driving distance

from a cancer center, for elderly women, and for those who depend on others for transportation. For them, it could rule out the option of keeping their breast. That’s why MammoSite therapy is such an important advancement.”

MammoSite Targeted Radiation Therapy Cuts Treatment Time to Five Days

MammoSite is the latest innovation in brachytherapy (implantation of radioactive seeds) for the treatment of breast cancer. Here’s how it works:

• After the tumor is removed in a lumpectomy, a thin catheter with a small, soft balloon at the end is inserted through a tiny incision into the cavity left by the lumpectomy. The balloon is then filled with saline
solution so it fits snugly in the cavity.
• During radiation therapy, radioactive seeds are placed inside the balloon through the catheter. After treatment, the seeds are removed so no radiation remains in the breast between treatments.
• After five days of treatment, the balloon is removed using  the same incision through which it was inserted.

“Nearly 60 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have early stage disease, which could
make them candidates for this procedure,” said Dr. Dragun. “That’s another reason we urge women to
get regular mammograms. Early detection increases their available treatment options.”

To schedule your yearly mammogram, or learn more about the Women’s Imaging Center, call 812-949-7799.