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).