Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Radiation at Time of Lumpectomy May Offer Faster, More Precise Treatment for Breast Cancer Patients

Intraoperative radiation therapy provides alternative for women with early stage breast cancer

Northwestern Medicine physicians are currently utilizing a new treatment option for breast cancer that allows women to receive a full dose of radiation therapy during breast conserving surgery. Traditionally, women who opt to have a lumpectomy must first have surgery then undergo approximately six weeks of radiation.

This schedule can be challenging for women who have busy schedules or do not have access to a center offering radiation therapy. In some cases, the demanding schedule causes women to not comply with the recommended course of treatment, increasing their risk for cancer recurrence. Intraoperative radiation therapy combines lumpectomy and the full course of radiation during a two and half hour operation.

“With this technique, the radiation oncologist will be in the operating room administering radiation to the tumor bed immediately following the surgeon’s removal of the tumor,” said William Small, Jr., MD, vice chairman radiation oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and professor of radiation oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Instead of waiting a month to start the radiation therapy, it will take place immediately. A patient will wake up from surgery and have received the full amount of radiation therapy that is typically administered over six weeks.”

Currently, a breast cancer patient first sees a surgeon to remove the tumor and then is referred to a radiation oncologist for follow up radiotherapy. Intraoperative radiation therapy allows physicians to deliver radiotherapy at the time of surgery directly to the area where the cancer was removed. Using a system called IntraBeam®, the radiation oncologist is now able to be in the operating room with the surgical oncologist, delivering the entire dose of radiation during surgery. A large international randomized trial confirmed that delivering radiation at the time of lumpectomy was as effective in preventing breast cancer recurrence as whole breast radiation therapy in selected patients (WBRT).

Not all patients who choose lumpectomy comply with the recommended follow up treatment because of factors including time, money, distance and access to a treatment facility. Neglecting follow up radiation after lumpectomy can increase the risk of cancer recurrence. Intraoperative radiation significantly cuts treatment time and allows women to complete radiation and surgery at the same time.

“By eliminating the geographic and time constraints of traditional radiotherapy, intraoperative radiation can make breast conservation surgery a realistic option for more women,” said Kevin Bethke, MD, surgical oncologist at Northwestern Memorial and assistant professor of clinical surgery at the Feinberg School. “Active women with busy jobs can choose lumpectomy and comply with the recommended radiation therapy, but limit the impact the treatment has on their lives.”

Along with offering an expedited treatment schedule, intraoperative radiation therapy also has the potential for better cosmetic outcomes, including less scarring, and fewer side effects compared to those associated with WBRT. Skin reactions, including redness, rashes, and irritation, as well as more severe complications including fatigue, swelling, tissue stiffness and scarring are sometimes associated with traditional radiation therapy.

While initial findings indicate single-dose radiation is as effective as WBRT in limiting recurrence of breast cancer in selected patients, it is not an option for every breast cancer diagnosis. Currently, only women with early stage breast cancer are considered as candidates for intraoperative radiation therapy.

“This isn’t a replacement for traditional breast cancer treatment, but for the right candidate it may be an attractive alternative,” said Small. “This has potential to expand access to radiation therapy allowing more women to comply with the recommended course of treatment. Hopefully, with a more concise and convenient treatment available, a broader group of women will have the option to choose breast conserving treatment options.”

The physicians hope that by offering intraoperative radiation therapy, they can help their patients effectively treat their cancer, but also do so in a manner that minimizes its impact on their daily lives. “A cancer diagnosis can be extremely stressful for a patient, so it’s important that treatment is not,” said Bethke. “With this new option, we’re giving women a way to treat their disease while continuing to live a normal, active life.”

To learn more about intraoperative radiotherapy, contact Northwestern Memorial’s brachytherapy coordinator Kanesha Broadwater RN, BSN, at 312-472-0110. For more information about Northwestern Memorial, visit

Media Contact:
Megan McCann
Senior Associate

Megan McCann | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>