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Mercy Stories: Innovative Breast Cancer Treatment

Oct 11 2018
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How intraoperative radiation therapy helped heal one patient

Linda Osborne understands the impact that cancer treatment can have on a family. Long before she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she watched both a sister and aunt undergo extensive treatments for their breast cancers. When Linda was diagnosed, she knew she wanted her treatment to be different.

Through intraoperative radiation therapy, a one-day, one-and-done treatment for early stage breast cancer patients, Linda got her wish.

Lourdes Hospital began offering intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) in 2018. IORT is a one-day breast cancer treatment option that offers benefits such as added convenience, fewer treatments and reduced costs.

IORT allows radiation oncologists and breast cancer surgeons to work together to deliver a full, concentrated dose of radiation at the time of lumpectomy. It targets cancer cells and spares healthy tissue, such as the heart, lungs, and ribs. Comparatively, traditional breast cancer treatment involves radiation five days per week, for six to eight weeks.

Dr. Daniel Howard of Lourdes said over the last several decades, standard radiation has been through a process called whole breast radiation therapy. During this therapy, high-powered x-rays are used to kill breast cancer cells.

“With IORT, radiation is delivered from inside the breast rather than externally, as is done during external beam radiation therapy (EBRT),” he said. “Two major studies have shown IORT is effective, but with fewer side effects than traditional radiation, making it a viable treatment option for appropriate patients.”

For Linda, the use of intraoperative radiation therapy was a very positive experience.

“From the time I stepped into Lourdes Hospital until I came out, I was treated so nice,” she said. “I’ve been really pleased and would recommend it to anyone. I had no trouble at all.”

To find out if intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) is available in your region, as well as other available treatment options, visit mercy.com and find a doctor today.


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