A New Breast Cancer Treatment Option: Brachytherapy | El Camino Health

A New Breast Cancer Treatment Option: Brachytherapy | El Camino Health


[ Silence ]>>Conventionally after
lumpectomy when the patient goes through a whole breast
radiation for six weeks, the reason we give
it over a long period of time is we give a
little radiation each day, Monday through Friday, 10
to 15 minutes a day in order to allow the normal
tissues in the vicinity to heal and to recover. The new concept of
targeted breast radiation or brachytherapy uses
a radioactive pellet to really hone in on
the region at risk of having any residual
cancer cells after surgery. That more limited
volume allows us to amplify the radiation
dose just to that area while sparing
some of the healthy tissues in the vicinity then resolves in
on a one week treatment course. In breast brachytherapy use a
device for instance like this for a surgeon after the time
of the lumpectomy will places under a simple out patient
procedure into the breast and this is an example of
one of the many devices that have been innovated,
this is placed in, takes about 5 to 10 minutes. And then this machine here which is called the afterloader
houses a small radioactive pellet inside, about
the size of a grain of rice gives off a certain
amount of radiation per second, these catheters then
connect to this device which is inside of the breast. And then what happens is that radioactive pellets
sequentially goes inside of each one of the tubes inside
of this device in the breast and stays there just for a few
seconds in and over the course of 3 to 5 minutes an intensified
radiation dose is delivered inside of the breast
while avoiding the heart, the lungs, the skin and such. And so– and then the
patient has a disk connected and goes home with no
radiation on their body.>>The carrier I guess it would
be called the apparatus was inserted on a Friday by my
surgeon Dr. Single [phonetic] and which was an uncomfortable
experience but not overly so. And then I had the weekend
to acclimate to that device and then started
the therapy Monday through Friday twice a day. It had to be six hours
apart, so I chose to go in at 7:15 AM and again at 2:15. And on Friday, the apparatus was
removed and I was good to go.>>We know now with published
data worldwide showing that recurrence risk
is identical to whole breast radiation
as long as you have early
favorable selected patients, but there are advantages. The advantages are, you have
the same excellent local control rate but the improvement
in quality of life and that really stems larger
from reduced toxicity certainly at a one way treatment course
is much more convenient for patients, specially
patients that have to oftentimes travel far to
a radiation center everyday over a six week course, working
women, women that are elderly, this is a fantastic
option for those patients.>>I have no regrets about
choosing that therapy. Its– I think it’s very
good for certain women who just really are active and
want to get on with their lives, it’s so quick and
you’re out of there.

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