MammoSite® is a precise radiation treatment for early stage breast cancer that involves delivering small doses of radiation inside the breast to the exact site where a lumpectomy was performed. The MammoSite procedure may lead more women to consider having lumpectomies, in order to preserve the breast, rather than mastectomies (complete removal of the breast).
There are several advantages to the procedure.
- MammoSite is a very precise treatment sparing healthy breast tissue.
- Instead of the customary once-a-day treatments for six weeks, MammoSite involves treatments twice per day for only five days.
- There are minimal side effects.
- Overwhelming patient satisfaction is experienced.
Four steps of MammoSite therapy:
- Surgery: a lumpectomy surgically removes the tumor while retaining the rest of the breast.
- Balloon insertion: either at the time of surgery (or up to ten weeks later), the surgeon inserts a small, soft balloon in the lumpectomy cavity and inflates it with a saline solution. A catheter (thin tube) extends from the balloon to a bandage outside the breast.
- Radiation seed treatment: a few days later, you will report for outpatient radiation treatment. A computer inserts a radioactive seed through the catheter and into the balloon, where it remains for five to ten minutes. Then the seed is withdrawn. You will then return for a repeat procedure about six hours later.
- Balloon removal: after four to five days of such double sessions, the balloon and catheter are easily removed.
This treatment is available for certain types of early stage breast cancer. To find out if you are a candidate for MammoSite, consult your physician.