Partial Breast High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy
Why should I consider HDR Breast Brachytherapy?
HDR Brachytherapy is a targeted treatment that uses a high-dose of radiation directed right at the area where the cancer cells may remain. The therapy is delivered from inside the body and limits the radiation exposure to normal, healthy tissue. Using HDR Brachytherapy will lessen the side effects of radiation such as skin discoloration, scarring, burning, fatigue and damage to surrounding organs or tissue. HDR also decreases the radiation treatment duration from 6 or 7 weeks to 5 days.
Why do I need radiation?
After a lumpectomy, radiation therapy is often used to eliminate any remaining cancer cells. The goal is to keep the cells from replicating and coming back.
High Dose Rate Brachytherapy uses a high-energy source of radiation directed to the area where the cancer was removed. The source of energy disrupts the growth of the cancerous cells. Unlike healthy cells, cancer cells cannot repair themselves, making them vulnerable to radiation therapy.
What are the side effects?
The most common side effects are redness, bruising and breast pain. These do not occur in all patients. Some patients report drainage from the catheter site. All side effects are very mild and only last for a short period of time.
How does it work?
Once the cancer cells are removed a device that is a bundle of soft, tiny catheters is inserted through a small incision into the lumpectomy cavity. The catheter bundle expands uniformly and its unique design allows it to be opened in such a way the catheter bundle conforms to the size and shape of your lumpectomy cavity. The radiation dose can be controlled in each catheter allowing precise targeting by the radiation oncologist
Above is picture of an expanded Savi® device
You will have 10 treatments over 5 days. After each treatment, the ‘seed’ will be removed, but the catheter will remain throughout the 5 day treatment. Once the 10 treatments are completed the device is removed, and the area is closed with a small bandage. You should feel little to no discomfort during the treatment or when the catheter is removed.
What to expect?
- A surgeon places the closed device inside the lumpectomy cavity.
- The device is then expanded by turning a specially designed key. It is expanded to the size of the lumpectomy cavity. This will allow for good distribution of the radiation dose. To deliver the radiation a tiny “seed” will pass through the catheter.
- A small portion of the catheter remains outside of the breast. It is flexible and easily secured.
- Your treatment is planned by a radiation oncologist who determines the amount of radiation needed.
- You will visit the Cancer Center twice a day for 5 days. Each treatment takes approximately 30 minutes. The procedure time varies based on the verification process described next.
- Prior to receiving treatment the catheter is verified for positioning of the device. This verification is done with a CT scanner.
- During treatment, the device is connected to a computer controlled machine that inserts the radiation ‘seed’ into the device. The “seed” will pass through the catheters delivering dose to the targeted area.The radiation “seed” is completely removed after each treatment-no radiation remains in your body between treatments.
- After the last treatment, the key will be used to close the device and it will be removed
- The incision is then closed with a small bandage.
- Most women feel little or no discomfort during the treatment or catheter removal.
- Women may return to normal day activities within one week.
Savi® HDR Breast Brachytherapy Video
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