MammoSite® Offers Shorter, Less-invasive Treatment for Breast Cancer Patients

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Used to Treat 18,000 Women across the Country, MammoSite Delivers Five–day Course of Treatment

For all women, the diagnosis of breast cancer can be daunting. Even when a woman finds out the cancer is still in the early stage, the idea of months and months of potentially dangerous treatments can be scary. Women nationwide may be pleased to know that a less invasive and time–consuming trend in breast cancer treatment is widely available.

The MammoSite® Radiation Therapy System (RTS), a form of partial breast irradiation (PBI), allows many patients with early–stage breast cancer who are candidates for a lumpectomy (surgical removal of a breast tumor) to receive a full course of targeted radiation in just five days. This is a remarkable advance, as traditional radiation may require six weeks of daily treatment to complete. In addition to its short treatment time, the MammoSite treatment targets radiation to the area where tumors are most likely to recur, while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue. To date, more than 18,000 patients have received MammoSite and thanks to early detection, some doctors believe up to 100,000 women a year could benefit from the procedure.

Many women prefer breast conservation therapy (BCT) instead of mastectomy (the surgical removal of the entire breast). Before the availability of MammoSite, however, women choosing BCT had to undergo six to seven weeks of daily radiation treatment after lumpectomy. The travel expenses and time commitment for these patients could be an enormous burden, especially for those coming from great distances to a center for treatment.

Recently, the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBS) expanded its patient selection criteria for women eligible to receive partial breast irradiation and MammoSite. By including younger women, age 45 and older, and those with larger tumor sizes, up to 3 cm, the ASBS enables more women to benefit from this procedure and underscores the efficacy of the treatment.

Safety and performance of the MammoSite device were evaluated in a multi–center study in 2000–2001, which involved women with early–stage breast cancer. The study results led to the United States FDA approval of the device in May 2002. More recently, published study results have found the treatment to be an effective method to deliver radiation to appropriately selected patients. The first four–year data on MammoSite presented at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology meeting in October 2005 demonstrated that out of 48 patients involved in the initial clinical trial, none experienced a recurrence after treatment with MammoSite. In addition, a five–year follow–up study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that partial breast irradiation using a similar technique to MammoSite RTS produces comparable results to conventional whole breast radiation therapy in preventing breast cancer recurrence in appropriately selected women treated with breast conservation therapy.

To learn more about the MammoSite procedure, please visit or contact Dr. Rogsbert Phillips at 678–418–3811

Dr. Rogsbert Phillips is a general surgeon at Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

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