A New Radiation Therapy Is Helping Treat And Prevent Breast Cancer. - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Health Watch - 10-14-04

A New Radiation Therapy Is Helping Treat And Prevent Breast Cancer.

Chrisley McCarson's life was turned upside down in may when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Chrisley McCarson: "I had my surgery June 11th and the rest of the summer would have been taken up with having to have the radiation."

Then a friend told her about mammosite radiation therapy which was approved by the FDA about two years ago, but is just becoming common in hospitals.

According to Dr. Jefferson Moulds with Georgetown University Hospital, it targets only the area where the tumor was removed and does not radiate healthy breast tissue.

Dr. Jefferson Moulds: "When we treat less than all of the breast, it allows us to treat much quicker. So, instead of a course of 6 weeks of daily radiation treatment we can deliver the whole course of radiation in one week."

McCarson says the only side effect she had was fatigue.

Chrisley McCarson: "If you meet all the qualifications, you should do it."

But, there are downsides.

Dr. Jefferson Moulds: "All the breast is not treated, if there were tumor elsewhere in the breast, we could miss tumor elsewhere."

Research is also underway to catch the early warning signs of cancer. Doctors are using a procedure called ductal lavaga, that take cells from the breast of high risk patients to check for abnormalities.

 Dr. Jefferson Moulds: "It enables us to do a better job of assessing a woman's risk for breast cancer."

That may help doctors catch the disease years before the tumor develops.

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