Breast cancer treatment cut from 6-7 weeks to 5 days

An Omaha hospital is now offering a type of breast cancer treatment that delivers radiation in the exact area that’s affected and over a much shorter length of time. Dr. Andrew Wahl, a radiation oncologist at the Nebraska Medical Center, says the difference in treatment times is significant.
“It’s a five-day treatment,” Dr. Wahl says. “Traditionally, breast cancer’s been treated with a six to seven-week course of radiation where we treat the entire breast. When we’re able to cut that down into a week, it gives patients easier access to having radiation and in a rural state like Nebraska, that does have benefits.”
The process is called MammoSite and Wahl says only a tiny targeted area is treated. “This device allows us to give the radiation to just a small area around the tumor bed,” he says.
Dr. Edibaldo Silva, a surgical oncologist at the Omaha medical center, describes where the radiation is targeted inside the breast tissue. Dr. Silva says the radiation is limited to an area two centimeters along the cancer, adding, “nothing else gets any radiation.”
The MammoSite therapy was developed to make it easier for more women to consider lumpectomy or breast conservation. The National Institutes of Health reports more than 40-percent of patients with early stage breast cancer still get a mastectomy.