The best news that we have in the fight against breast cancer today is that most patients are now diagnosed in the early stage, thanks to increased awareness and early detection through routine mammograms. Not only do women diagnosed with early-stage cancer tend to receive favorable prognoses, but they are also eligible for minimally invasive, less time consuming treatment options.
MammoSite 5-Day Targeted Radiation Therapy (TRT), a form of partial breast irradiation (PBI), allows many patients with early-stage breast cancer who are candidates for a lumpectomy (surgical removal of a breast tumor) to receive a full course of targeted radiation in just five days. This is a remarkable advance, as traditional radiation may require six weeks of daily treatment to complete. In addition to its short treatment time, the MammoSite treatment targets radiation to the area where tumors are most likely to recur, while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue. MammoSite was cleared by the FDA in May 2002 and more than 32,000 patients have received the treatment. Thanks to early detection, some doctors believe up to 100,000 women a year could benefit from MammoSite.
Smithtown resident, Barbara Scanlon, received MammoSite in March 2007 after a routine mammogram found a cancerous lump in her breast. Barbara had always been diligent in going for her annual mammogram so she was diagnosed in the early stages, making her an excellent candidate for the treatment. She worried about exposing healthy tissue in her heart and lungs to radiation with whole breast or traditional radiation therapy so when she learned of MammoSite’s targeted radiation delivery, she was thrilled. Throughout the whole treatment process, Barbara felt little discomfort and fatigue and says that she would recommend MammoSite to anyone who is eligible.
The first five-year data from a clinical study on the use of MammoSite Targeted Radiation Therapy, presented in May 2007, showed there were no local recurrences of cancer in the patients who completed follow up. Good to excellent cosmetic outcomes were achieved in 83.3% of the study patients. The study also evaluated patient acceptance of the procedure. Survey results showed that 100% of patients said they would recommend MammoSite to a friend or family member, and all patients said they would use MammoSite again if they had to do it over.
For women who are juggling their career and family or who may live far away from a radiation center, MammoSite provides a more convenient option, allowing patients to complete radiation therapy (a critical element of breast cancer treatment) in just a week and get back to their busy lifestyles usually with minimal side effects.
Alison Mishkit, MD, and Erna Busch-Devereaux, MD, are surgeons at Breast Surgery Associates in Huntington, New York.Women interested in more information on MammoSite are invited to visit www.VoicesOfMammoSite.com. To set up a consultation, call 631-423-1414.