More Women Are Eligible For Partial Breast Radiation According to Radiation Oncology Governing Body: From 6 weeks of daily radiation therapy to 5 days: Vindication! Olusola Davies M.D.
Traditionally, treating breast cancer involves removing the area containing cancer followed by 6 weeks of daily radiation treatments to the whole breast. Alternatively, radiation to the whole breast can be reduced to 4 weeks of daily treatments. In certain women with low risk breast cancer, radiation can be delivered in 5 single treatments. This type of treatment is called partial breast radiation. This means less treatment to the normal breast, less time travelling to doctors, more time recovering and more time getting back to life! Regaining some semblance of normalcy is an important part of cancer recovery and partial breast radiation is exactly what the doctor ordered!
2 years ago I implemented my first clinical trial using a robotic device-The CyberKnife® to deliver partial breast radiation over 5 days. At the time, I considered women ≥ 50 years old, with small invasive cancers or pre-invasive cancer called DCIS the ideal candidates for this forward thinking treatment. At that time, my selection criteria was odds with the criteria published by ASTRO the governing body for radiation oncologists as to what women should be ideal candidates for partial breast radiation.
Well folks-NOT ANYMORE!
Hot off the press, ASTRO has now released updated guidelines regarding eligibility for partial breast irradiation and they now reflect and exceed my originally criteria.
Partial breast radiation has now been tested in more than 10,000 patients over the past 10 years. We now know that in properly selected women, cancer outcomes are similar when whole breast radiation or partial breast radiation is used. If whole breast radiation is not a better treatment, what does that mean for >250,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the United States of America? More women will now be considered for partial breast treatment.
CyberKnife® Partial Breast Radiation
This innovate treatment applies the unique features of the CyberKnife® robotic linear accelerator to deliver radiation for breast cancer. The CyberKnife® can track the treatment location in real time while monitoring your breathing and other movements. It uses 100s of beams to create a “tight” fitting radiation plan so that only a very small area of the breast gets treated while sparing the normal breast tissue without cancer. The treatments are delivered once a day for a few minutes for 5 treatments (compared to 4-6 weeks of traditional radiation). Side effects are minimal and you can head home, return to work, carry out your business as usual before and after treatment. This video shows how CyberKnife treats lung cancer which is essentially what happens when treating breast cancer.
Interested in partial breast radiation? Speak with your radiation oncologist or surgeon or find out how physicians at Precision Radiation Oncology can help.
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