EIORT: New therapy for breast cancer

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - The American Cancer Society estimates more than a quarter million people will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. this year.  Many of them will get weeks of radiation after surgery. There’s a new option that eliminates that extra treatment time for early stage patients.

Judy Collins was 80 when she learned she had cancer in both breasts. She said she wasn’t worried.

“It was a blip out of my life,” Collins told Ivanhoe.

She had electron intraoperative radiation therapy, or EIORT. Collins got all her radiation during her lumpectomies and said her life hasn’t changed.

Collins detailed, “You get up Monday morning, you play tennis, and Tuesday morning, you play golf, and Wednesday, you might have a tennis game, and Friday, for sure you have a tennis game. I don’t sit around a whole lot.”

From the Scripps Clinic in San Diego, Mary Wilde, M.D., a breast surgical oncologist and Ken Shimizu, M.D., radiation oncologist, tag team the procedure. Dr. Wilde removes the tumor and places a copper shield under the surgical site.

Dr. Wilde explained, “The radiation is very precise and it doesn’t scatter to other parts of the breast. It is stopped behind the tissue that needs to be irradiated by that protective shield.”

Dr. Shimizu picks the right-sized cone to direct radiation into the incision for two minutes. Studies show EIORT is as effective as traditional radiation in some patients.

Dr. Shimizu detailed, "They found that the patients that had lower risk disease had essentially the same risk of recurrence, so about 1.5 percent. Not only is it convenient and has excellent cosmetic results, but we all have the medical background and information to be able to support using it.”

Collins was back in action ten days after treatment, which for her is par for the course.

To get EIORT, patients must be over the age of 50, have invasive ductal carcinoma and tumors two centimeters or smaller. However, Dr. Shimizu is also running a clinical trial for patients with more types of tumors that can be up to 2.5 centimeters.

Contributors to this news report include: Wendi Chioji, Field Producer; Rusty Reed, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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