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Aventura Hospital and Medical Center

New 5-Day Treatment for Breast Cancer

December 08, 2010

Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center Introduces New 5-Day Treatment for Breast Cancer

December 1, 2010, Aventura, FL – The Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center is pleased to announce the addition of high-dose rate brachytherapy, a new weapon to its cancer-fighting arsenal.  Available now, this innovative five-day radiation treatment for breast cancer is a significant advance in reducing the treatment time of the standard six-week course of radiotherapy and coincides with the arrival of newly appointed Cancer Center Medical Director Carlos Lopez, MD who is certified in this form of advanced therapy.  

High-dose rate brachytherapy, or HDR, is used after the breast-sparing surgical intervention of lumpectomy that is a departure from radical mastectomy or complete surgical resection of the breast. The goal of HDR, as with most radiotherapy, is to locally eradicate tumor cells that may remain after surgery thereby reducing risk of recurrence.

Not all patients are candidates for this advanced procedure and it is important to be informed of the guidelines for qualification. First, the patient must be a candidate for lumpectomy and second there are other guidelines such as patient’s age, tumor size and location that are medically necessary considerations. It is important to know your specialist follows the standard of care before undergoing such treatment and that the specialists at Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center adhere to the strict, research-based criteria.   

“There are many advantages to this form of radiation therapy,” states Dr. Lopez, “and for many patients to return to their normal lives sooner is a great benefit.”  “Additionally, since this is an out-patient treatment, during the five treatment days most patients can return to activities as tolerated since most side effects are mild and of short duration.”  

After undergoing lumpectomy, a balloon catheter is inserted in the cavity where the tumor was removed and radiation is delivered via this medical device. Twice daily for a total of five days the patient receives the planned dose that limits radiation exposure of healthy organs and tissue and minimizes cosmetic implications as well.  

“We’re all looking forward to this new innovation,” remarked Dr. Charles Shenker, Chief of Staff at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, “To have this advanced treatment technology available and Dr Lopez’s expertise as a part of the Cancer Center’s Program is certainly a benefit for our community.”