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Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)

Intraoperative  Radiation Therapy (IORT)  delivers targeted radiation treatment directly to the tumor site in surgery immediately following a lumpectomy.  This new radiation platform can eliminate the need, or reduce the time frame for external beam radiation therapy following surgery with a single 20-30 minute targeted radiation treatment. Delivering a concentrated dose of radiation to the tumor site in surgery can destroy the cancer cells that remain, yet spare normal breast tissue. IORT is not used as a replacement for whole breast radiation therapy, but as a viable treatment alternative for patients meeting specific treatment conditions.

How Interaoperative Radiotherapy is performed

  • After the surgeon has removed the tumor, the radiation oncologist positions the radiation applicator tip in the area of the breast where the tumor was located.
  • Low energy radiation is delivered locally to the targeted tissue in the tumor bed, minimizing healthy tissue exposure to radiation.
  • After 20-30 minutes of radiotherapy, the applicator is removed and the surgeon then closes the incision

Advantages of Intraoperative Radiation Therapy to conventional radiation therapy

  • In some cases, treatment time is reduced from an average of six weeks to a single, definitive dose during surgery
  • Interaoperative Radiation Therapy used as a boost (targeted supplemental dose of radiation) to standard external beam radiation can reduce treatment duration by one to two weeks
  • Internal radiation delivery within the tumor cavity provides a precise, therapeutic dose where it is most needed – in the location where local recurrence is most likely to occur
  • Less irritation of healthy breast tissue
  • Minimized exposure to healthy tissue and organs such as the ribs, lungs, heart, and opposite breast
  • Fewer skin reactions, such as redness, rashes, or irritations
  • No treatment delay for patients who must also undergo chemotherapy as part of their breast cancer treatment

Who is a candidate for this procedure?

  • Women diagnosed in the early stages of breast cancer with smaller tumors are the most likely candidates for this procedure. The physicians coordinating a patient’s breast conservation therapy will determine whether IORT is the appropriate therapy.

For more information on IORT call the Center for Cancer Care at 1.847.842.HUGS(4847).

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