device doctors at UVA are using to treat breast cancer patients
There is no easy way to fight breast cancer but doctors at the University of Virginia Cancer Center say they now have a way to treat people in a single day for what once meant weeks and weeks of appointments and discomfort.
The UVA Cancer Center is one of the first in the country to offer this type of care. The process allows physicians to use three-dimensional computerized treatment planning to provide more precise therapy to the tumor site.
"After we remove the tumor from the patient's breasts, this applicator is placed into that lumpectomy cavity and the radiation is delivered right through this device at the time of surgery," surgical oncologist Shayna Showalter.
Doctors say the condensed treatment gives patients a chance to return to their normal lives faster.
"When the patient wakes up, the cancer has been removed and the radiation has been delivered through this applicator," Shayna said.
UVA oncologists make up the team of physicians rolling out the one-day, image-guided breast cancer treatment.
"In one space, we can have the surgeons perform the lumpectomy, they can place the brachytherapy applicator, we can do a diagnostic quality CT scan, three-dimensional computerized treatment planning and actually deliver the radiation therapy all without moving the patient," said radiation oncologist Timothy Showalter.
The innovative treatment will hopefully allow patients to live a cancer-free life sooner.
"A lot of our patients have kids to take care of, jobs to go to, and this helps shorten their treatment," Shayna said.
Timothy says the technology is most suited for women with early-stage breast cancer. "And that's a group of patients who are often served with a balance of recognizing what's best for reducing the risk of their cancer returning and also balancing returning these women back to their normal life," he said.
Physicians are working to put the final touches on this process. They hope to have their first patient receiving the single-day treatment by the end of this month.