Cancer Care Center Offers Faster, Less Invasive Breast Cancer Treatment

BRUNSWICK, Georgia: Oct. 19, 2009 – Some women undergoing lumpectomies for breast cancer at Southeast Georgia Health System’s Cancer Care Center now have another treatment option—accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI). Instead of undergoing 35 daily radiology sessions over seven weeks, women who meet certain criteria can undergo this new technology that takes only five days and has fewer side effects than standard radiation treatment.

According to Southeast Georgia Health System Cancer Care Center radiation oncologist, Timothy A. Jamieson, MD, PhD, APBI involves the temporary insertion of a small saline filled balloon into the lumpectomy site. A radiation source is then inserted into the balloon to deliver a very precise sphere of radiation twice a day for ten minutes each. The entire course is completed in 10 sessions over five days.

“At the Cancer Care Center we use Contura®, the next generation of APBI technology. Within the balloon we have five catheters or channels, instead of a single one found in earlier technologies, so we can shape the dose,” Jamieson says. “This means we can better target the area at risk, resulting in less damage to healthy tissue and fewer side effects such as fatigue and skin burns. The target is a one centimeter sphere of tissue surrounding the lumpectomy cavity as this is the most likely area to have any residual cancer cells after surgery.”

Jamieson says to qualify for the treatment; women must have a single small tumor (less than 3 cm in diameter) and negative margins, as well as no evidence of metastases. They must also be 45 years or older, because currently there is no data available on the effectiveness of the treatment in women younger than 45. The APBI technology can also be used to treat pre-cancerous tumors of the breast (ductal carcinoma in situ-DCIS), he adds. For patients who undergo chemotherapy, APBI is delivered first.

The Cancer Care Center is located in the Outpatient Care Center on the Brunswick Campus at 2500 Starling St. All outpatient cancer diagnostic, treatment and therapy programs are in this one location to assure patients and their families’ seamless access to care. The Cancer Care Center is affiliated with M. D. Anderson Physicians Network®. In 2009, U.S. News and World Report named The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center number one in cancer care in the U.S.

To learn more about APBI and the other treatment options available at the Cancer Care Center, call 912-466-5100 or visit www.sghs.com.