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What is intra-operative radiotherapy for breast cancer?
Intra-operative radiotherapy is to apply the radiation to the small area in one single row where the tumor was removed, during the patient is in operation room. This is a much different application than the long-term breast irradiation which is performed frequently.
How is intra-operative radiotherapy used for breast cancer?
Intra-operative radiotherapy for breast cancer is often performed for the patients who receive breast-protecting surgery. In operating room, intra-operative radiotherapy device helps to give the low-energy high-dose radiation directly to the tumor area just after the tumor was removed. Surgeon removes the tumor and the sphere-shaped application cap is placed to perform irradiation for approximately half an hour.
Is intra-operative radiotherapy an experimental treatment for breast cancer?
Large studies were performed for the treatment of many patients around the World which test the application of intra-operative radiotherapy with Intrabeam device after breast-protecting surgery. It was shown that intra-operative radiotherapy and whole breast radiotherapy have very similar results in the patients who were chosen for these studies. After these studies, this application became one of the alternatives for whole breast irradiation in the World.
Who are suitable candidates for intra-operative radiotherapy?
Intra-operative radiotherapy is not suitable for every patient with breast cancer. Please see your doctor to learn your suitability for the treatment.
What are the advantages of intra-operative radiotherapy?
Whole radiotherapy procedure is performed in a row during the operation. ‘Standard’ radiotherapy, which is the alternative for this, is applied after the surgery and lasts 5-6 weeks. Intra-operative radiotherapy saves time and is more suitable for the patient. The radiation dose given in intra-radiotherapy is much lower. The radiation dose given to the surrounding tissues during intra-radiotherapy is significantly low.
What are the side effects of intra-operative radiotherapy?
The most important side effect is swelling in the operation zone and redness in the skin. It may rarely cause necrosis (tissue death) in the skin. However, these all are recyclable side effects and don’t treat the life generally.
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