Surgeons and radiation oncologists at Upstate are teaming up to provide intraoperative radiation therapy to women with early-stage breast cancer. This allows for an intensive dose of radiation to be applied during surgery in the space where the tumor is removed.
The aim is to kill any microscopic disease that remains after a tumor is removed, explains Anna Shapiro, MD, associate professor of radiation oncology. Instead of waiting for the patient to heal from surgery and then completing a three- to six-week course of radiation, this intraoperative option allows the radiation oncologist to precisely deliver radiation to the tumor bed at the end of the operation.
Surgeon Lisa Lai, MD, says, “We’re able to complete both the surgery and the radiation in one day, so patients get back to their normal lives much quicker.”
Women whose breast cancer has not spread may be candidates for this new procedure. Lai and Shapiro explain that every patient’s situation is reviewed by a team of specialists who make recommendations for her best treatment.