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Brachytherapy for Breast Cancer

Jordan Valley Cancer Center is proud to partner with the highly experienced and respected physicians at Gamma West Cancer Services, one of the earliest pioneers of radiation therapy techniques in the Intermountain West. Learn more below about how this team is able to accomplish in five days the same amount of treatment that can take seven weeks with external beam radiation.

What Is Brachytherapy?

Internal radiation therapy is also known as brachytherapy, which means short-distance therapy.  With this method, sources of radiation are put into or near the area that needs treatment.  The radiation only travels a short distance, so there’s less risk of damaging nearby normal tissues.  Brachytherapy can be used to deliver a high dose of radiation to a small area in a fairly short period of time.  It is sometimes combined with other forms of cancer treatment, such as external beam radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgical oncology.

How Savi Brachytherapy Works

In the procedure, which is completed through the partnership of a radiation oncologist and breast oncologist, the Savi applicator is inserted into the lumpectomy cavity through a single incision. The applicator is expanded to fit the size of the cavity. One of the benefits of the Savi applicator is that it can be used in much smaller cavities than competing technologies. Catheters are then deployed and connected to an HDR brachytherapy source. The radiation pellets are administered via the catheters. Having multiple flexible catheters gives the physician greater control over where the radiation is deployed. Once the final treatment is complete, the Savi applicator is collapsed and removed from the lumpectomy cavity.

Accomplishing 7 Weeks of Treatment In 5 Days

Physicians at Jordan Valley Cancer Center use the Savi® Applicator, a flexible breast brachytherapy delivery system that allows physicians to customize radiation treatments based on each patient’s specific anatomy. By using the Savi device for brachytherapy, physicians can deliver in just five days the amount of radiation that normally takes seven weeks when administered via external beam radiation.

What is HDR Brachytherapy?

For HDR Brachytherapy, the radiation source is put into place for a few minutes at a time, and then removed.  This process may be repeated twice a day for up to a week, or once a week for a few weeks.

Who can undergo brachytherapy for breast cancer?

Brachytherapy may be a good option for women who have had breast-conserving surgery. It may also be used as the sole method of treating breast cancer in some women – especially small, early breast cancers. Ask your physician if you are a candidate for breast brachytherapy.

Side Effects of Brachytherapy for Breast Cancer

Potential side effects of brachytherapy may include:

  • Redness
  • Breast pain/tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Infection
  • Break-down of healthy tissue in the breast

Brachytherapy for Breast Cancer In West Jordan, UT

Oncologists at Jordan Valley Cancer Center take a collaborative, integrative approach to breast cancer treatment. By combining the skills, knowledge and experience of oncologists from diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer patients an excellent level of care. Additionally, patients of Jordan Valley Cancer Center are partnered with a Nurse Navigator, who serves as an educator and advocate every step of the way. For more information about brachytherapy treatment options at Jordan Valley Cancer Center, please contact us at 801-601-2260.