Mammosite Radiation -Treating Breast Cancer
A breast cancer diagnosis opens up an array of fears, followed by a flood of questions. Some being "Should I have a mastectomy?" or "Can I trust radiation to save my breasts and my life?" and "How long until I get back to normal?"
Dr. Paul Dale is used to meeting breast cancer patients who understandably want the fast track to wellness.
"It's allowing women who would ordinarily say I'd just as soon have my breast taken off then do six weeks. vs. I can do a week," explained Paul Dale surgical oncologist.
He's talking about a procedure known as mammosite. Besides shrinking a tumor, it seriously shrinks the time it takes to have radiation therapy.
"Radiation is given every day, Monday through Friday, for about six weeks and it lasts about this (snaps fingers) long," said Dale. "But you've got to get to the radiation oncologist. If you're in a very remote outlying community, that might be very difficult for you," said Dale.
Meaning a probable mastectomy, even if a lumpectomy would have been just as effective.
Now mammosite is making the option of a woman keeping her breast more reasonable.
"They put a little tiny bead of a radiation source directly into the breast," said Dale. "That gives a very high, local dose of radiation. That's in there for 10-15 minutes, you do a treatment in the morning, one in the afternoon for five days. The balloon is pulled out and then you're done," Dale explained.
Early studies have shown mammosite radiation therapy carries no higher risks of recurrence than other treatment options. And more good news, almost all breast cancer patients are good candidates for mammosite.
But very large tumor or cases where the lymph nodes are also involved shouldn't opt for mammosite.
Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, as well as Boone hospital both offer mammosite as a radiation option.