Innovations in Breast Cancer Treatment

New technology like Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) and Vision RT are leading the way as breast cancer treatment options.

Oct. 9, 2019 3   min read

Pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness month

One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and in 2019, more than 41,000 women will die from breast cancer in the United States. Rochester Regional Health’s Breast Center is offering innovative breast cancer treatment options that aim to improve patient outcomes and patient experiences.

“Technologies like Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) and Vision RT allow us to continually offer our patients the very best treatment options when it comes to breast cancer treatment,” said Lori Medeiros, MD, Executive Director of the Rochester Regional Health Breast Center.

While October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to bring more awareness to breast cancer, Rochester Regional Health’s innovative treatments try to improve both patient outcome and the journey to recovery, said Dr. Medeiros.

What is Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)?

IORT is a single dose of highly localized radiation delivered directly into the site of the tumor during surgery. Its benefits include keeping the surrounding tissue safe and allowing for higher effective doses of radiation to be used. What’s more, IORT doesn’t require additional treatments compared with conventional radiation therapy.

Patients can save more than $10,500 annually when receiving IORT treatment over the more traditional approach of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), according to a recent cost-comparison study by research firm Biomed Central.

The Lipson Cancer Institute is the first cancer center in Western New York to use IORT as a breast cancer treatment option.

How Vision RT Works

Vision RT creates a 3D model of the patient’s body and tracks the surface anatomy in real-time. The software allows doctors like Khusraw Sabit, MD, Radiation Oncologist at Rochester Regional Health, to keep track of patients’ movements during radiation therapy, learn the most ideal positions for therapy, and make adjustments when necessary.

Dr. Sabit and his colleagues deliver treatment in the Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) position, where patients take a deep breath and hold it so the chest wall and breast move away from the heart. If the patient’s position suddenly changes during the procedure, Vision RT detects the movement and treatment stops until they return to the ideal position.

“We’re the only cancer center in Western New York to offer surface guided treatment for left breast cancer using Vision RT,” said Dr. Sabit. “It closely aligns with our philosophy with innovation: if there’s a safe and effective breast cancer treatment technology that we believe is of great benefit to our patients, we will invest in it.”

An estimated 268,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S in 2019, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. As Breast Cancer Awareness Month continues to raise awareness for breast cancer, doctors at Rochester Regional Health’s Lipson Cancer Institute remain ahead of the curve with innovations in breast cancer treatment options.

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