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New single-dose intraoperative radiotherapy treatment for early stage breast cancer

22 August 2014

Spire Thames Valley Hospital is now able to offer an innovative Single-dose intraoperative radiotherapy treatment (SD-IORTTM) for early stage breast cancer.

Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) of the breast is a type of breast radiation administered as a single treatment during surgery, while the patient is still under anaesthesia. 

IORT is considered an effective and safer alternative to standard breast radiotherapy, which is usually administered after a lumpectomy on a daily basis for up to five weeks. For many women, IORT makes breast conservation and breast radiotherapy a far more practical and convenient treatment option.

In the operating theatre, our breast surgeon will place a specially designed inflatable balloon applicator into the space where the tumour was removed (see diagram), and then delivers the dose of radiation in as little as 10–20 minutes.

IORT delivers radiation inside your breast close to where the tumour was. The goal of radiotherapy is to preserve the healthy tissue and eliminate any remaining cancer cells. Even though breast surgeons make every possible effort to remove all cancerous tissue at the time of surgery, microscopic cancer cells are often difficult to detect and surgically remove.

With IORT, our breast surgeon can deliver the appropriate dose of radiation to the tumour bed in a single dose. When you wake up from your surgery, the tumour has been removed and the area surrounding it has been irradiated. This often means that you do not need any additional radiation treatment, although the final decision will depend on your individual circumstances.

For patients considering the surgery, the tumours must be small (less than 3cm) and low grade cancers which have not spread to the lymph nodes - ideally those detected through mammogram screening.

The following team of Spire Thames Valley Hospital Consultants will perform this treatment:

Mr Maisam Fazel, Consultant Oncoplastic, Breast Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon

Dr Narottam Thanvi, Consultant Clincal Oncologist

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