New option for breast cancer treatment combines surgery with radiation

From left, breast surgeons Mary Ellen Greco, MD, Lisa Lai, MD, and Kristine Keeney, MD, and radiation oncologist Anna Shapiro, MD, in the operating room with the new intraoperative radiation therapy unit. (photos by Susan Kahn)

From left, breast surgeons Mary Ellen Greco, MD, Lisa Lai, MD, and Kristine Keeney, MD, and radiation oncologist Anna Shapiro, MD, in the operating room with the new intraoperative radiation therapy unit. (photos by Susan Kahn)

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.

Shapiro gives targeted radiation during surgery, eliminating the need for post-surgery radiation treatments for some cases of breast cancer.

Shapiro gives targeted radiation during surgery, eliminating the need for post-surgery radiation treatments for some cases of breast cancer.

Cancer Care magazine summer 2018 coverThis article appears in the summer 2018 issue of Cancer Care  magazine. Hear a podcast/radio interview where Lisa Lai, MD, and Anna Shapiro, MD, discuss this breast cancer treatment.

 

This entry was posted in cancer, health care, medical imaging/radiology, surgery, technology, women's health/gynecology. Bookmark the permalink.

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