Mammosite Treatment for Breast Cancer Available Locally
MammoSite radiation treatment is being selected more often at the UVMC Cancer Care Center by women with early-stage breast cancer. Introduced locally in 2005, the procedure offers site-specific radiation treatment twice daily for five days for a breast following a lumpectomy, compared to the traditional seven weeks of radiation following the surgery.
Sarah Jones, RN,MS, oncology nurse clinician for the Cancer Care Center , said patient requests and a recommendation from Dr. Stewart Lowry of Miami County Surgeons originally sparked the technology’s introduction at UVMC. In the past three years, more than 300 treatments have been provided locally.
With MammoSite treatment, an uninflated balloon attached to a catheter is placed inside the lumpectomy cavity through a small incision in the breast. The balloon is filled with a saline solution to fit into the cavity, where it will remain throughout the radiation therapy. When the patient arrives at the center for treatment, the catheter section that remains outside the body is connected to a computer-controlled machine that will provide the radiation treatment to the target area. Once the treatment program is completed, the catheter and balloon are removed.
Jean Heath, Cancer Care Center executive director, said the UVMC program has an advantage over those at larger facilities because surgeons, radiologists and others involved in scheduling and treatment work well together and “can move quickly through scheduling issues."
Patients also are set up on a Monday through Friday schedule for their treatment to avoid having the balloon and catheter in the woman over the weekend or for extra days to meet center scheduling needs. The short treatment time frame helps reduce chance of infection and help the patient avoid added discomfort from the balloon and catheter, Jones said. If a viable option, MammoSite has several advantages, UVMC Cancer Care Center team members said. With a large number of women who come for treatment also working, the five days versus several weeks is seen as less hectic long-term on the work schedules. In addition, there are fewer complications from radiation for the patient’s skin. And, Heath said, the look and feel of the breast is preserved.
In addition to Dr. Lowry, the other physicians at Miami County Surgeons -- Dr. Chris Grove, Dr. Rowan Nichol, Dr. Daniel Taylor and Dr. Patrick Larreategui – also can perform the catheter placement procedure.
Jones works with each patient to explain the process, their responsibilities, their family’s role in their care, and answering whatever questions the patient may have. She also enlists MammoSite patients in the center’s Road to Recovery program, which provides further resources for patients. “It’s someone who has been there. They are there one-on-one with the other woman,” Jones said.
Jones said MammoSite is not the only progressive treatment offered by the center, which now offers a skin cancer treatment over seven days as opposed to the traditional 35-day process.
For more information, on the UVMC Cancer Care Center and MammoSite radiation treatment, contact (937) 440-4835 or visit the web at www.mammosite.com.
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