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Intraoperative Radiotherapy

Intraoperative Radiotherapy (IORT) involves treatment with radiation therapy during surgery. The benefit of this method is that less tissue is exposed to radiation. The target area can be directly viewed by your team of oncologists and surgeons, and a more effective dose of radiation may be delivered directly to the tumor. Intraoperative irradiation can be used with many types of tumors, including breast cancer, colorectal cancers, and sarcomas, in order to improve the outcome of cancer treatment.

ROA physicians use the Zeiss Intrabeam system to deliver intraoperative radiation treatments. Learn more about the Zeiss Intrabeam System.

IORT for Breast Cancer


Intraoperative Radiotherapy

Women with certain types of early-stage breast cancer now have a new treatment option available with Radiation Oncology Associates. Our team provides radiotherapy using the ZEISS INTRABEAM intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) system.

This may be an excellent therapy option for women having breast-conserving surgery, also known as a lumpectomy. The clinically documented radiotherapy delivers a single fraction of radiotherapy in 20-30 minutes during the time of lumpectomy. Other forms of radiation therapy can require five to six weeks of treatment.

With this new less-invasive treatment, the small spherical tip of a miniaturized radiation device is inserted into lumpectomy incision. The therapy is delivered while the patient is still asleep from the lumpectomy. No additional surgery is needed, and both treatment time and radiation exposure are reduced. This can contribute significantly to helping patients get back to their lives more quickly.

Localizing the radiation inside the breast is effective because this is where cancer is most likely to recur. The international TARGIT research group has been investigating this new method of delivering radiotherapy for breast cancer in which the treatment zcan be delivered at the time of surgical lumpectomy since 1988. The results of the trial show the overall number of recurrences of the cancer was very low.

Michael Alvarado, MD, a member of TARGIT-A International Steering Committee and one of the principle investigators at the University of California, San Francisco, said, “Radiotherapy delivered at the time of surgery is an exciting advancement. By delivering radiation intraoperatively, primarily the tumor bed is targeted, therefore patients benefit from less ‘scatter radiation’ to the lungs and heart, and fewer cosmetic problems with the breast.”

Intraoperative Radiotherapy

INTRABEAM can also be used for a boost treatment during surgery and to deliver a prescribed dose of radiation therapy in conjunction with whole breast radiation. Women who have been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer should talk with their physician about whether this treatment is right for them.

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