New treatment may help breast cancer victims

Breast Cancer Screening (KSN File Photo)


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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WKYC) – Many breast cancer patients undergo weeks of radiation after surgery to make sure the cancer cells are killed.

The Cleveland Clinic is now using a new procedure that gives the radiation in one dose.

Joanne Duffy learned she had breast cancer by a fluke. She was having stent surgery for a clogged heart artery when a CAT scan picked up a lump in her breast.

It was early stage breast cancer and she qualified for a new type of treatment that combines surgery and radiation together. Instead of six weeks of radiation, Joanne had one dose during surgery.

“It was an ideal situation for me because it was done 1, 2, 3, and I wouldn’t even be aware of receiving the radiation,” said Joanne.

“The radiation device is placed inside the lumpectomy cavity,” said Dr. Stephanie Valente, Cleveland Clinic. “It takes an additional 30 to 40 minutes during surgery. The catheter is removed and the treatment is complete.”

For Joanne, radiation exposure to her heart was a concern. Intraoperative radiation therapy solves that issue.

“Focuses the radiation to one to two centimeters around the lumpectomy cavity so not exposing the rest of the breast tissue to harmful effects of radiation or exposing the heart and lungs,” said Dr. Valente.

Candidates for this treatment are women over 60 with early-stage breast cancer.

The treatment received FDA approval in 2010.

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