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MammoSite Offers Smaller Amount of Treatments - Shorter Time

Conservative Breast Radiation Treatments for Early Stage Breast Cancer

Following a lumpectomy, if radiation treatments are recommended to the whole breast, it takes 33 - 37 treatment visits.  MammoSite offers a smaller amount of treatments over a shorter time.  Following the lumpectomy, a catheter is placed in the lumpectomy site.  The patient receives 2 treatments each day for 5 days.

How does MammoSite work?

MammoSite is a small, balloon attached to a thin catheter that is placed inside the lumpectomy cavity.  In order to deliver radiation, a tiny radioactive source is placed within the balloon by a computer-controlled machine.  Because the radioactive seed is inside the balloon, radiation is directed only to the area of your breast where cancer is most likely to recur.

What to expect?

After the surgeon removes the tumor, the uninflated MammoSite balloon is placed inside the lumpectomy cavity through a small incision in the breast.  A portion of the catheter will remain outside of your breast.  The balloon can be placed during your lumpectomy surgery or up to 10 weeks after surgery in a separate procedure.

Once in place, the balloon is inflated with a saline solution to fit snugly into your lumpectomy cavity.  The balloon remains inflated for the entire time you are receiving radiation therapy.

Next, you will visit a radiation oncologist who will take images of the MammoSite balloon in the breast and determine the amount of radiation needed.  Once the treatment plan is established, the therapy will begin

  • During radiation therapy, you will visit the radiation oncology office twice a day for 5 days. 
  • The portion of the catheter that remains outside of your breast will be connected to a computer-controlled machine. 
  • A tiny radioactive seed will travel from the machine, through the catheter, and into the inflated balloon inside your breast. 
  • The seed will remain in the balloon between 7 - 15 minutes. 
  • The seed will then be drawn back into the machine. 
  • The catheter will be disconnected, and your treatment session will be complete. 
  • The second treatment will be given a minimum of 6 hours later.
  • After the last session, the balloon is deflated, and the catheter is removed.

Are you a candidate for MammoSite?

Physicians generally recommend MammoSite for appropriate, early-stage breast cancer patients.  There are many factors that your doctor will need to consider when determining if MammoSite is right for you.  As with any medical procedure, talk to your doctor and carefully consider all treatment options before deciding.

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