Hoag Hospital announced the launch of its Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) program as part of its progressive, comprehensive approach to breast cancer treatment. IORT is a radiation therapy technique in which a concentrated dose of radiation is delivered to a cancerous tumor site during surgery after the tumor is removed. Hoag Hospital is the first in Orange County to offer IORT brachytherapy for breast cancer as a component of a definitive treatment approach.
Traditional external-beam radiation therapy for breast cancer patients typically consists of six to seven weeks of radiation after surgical removal of the tumor. With IORT, radiation treatment takes place during surgery, lasts about 20-30 minutes, and may eliminate the inconvenience of, daily radiation therapy. Unlike traditional radiation treatment, IORT uses a single radiation dose and treats a more limited area of breast tissue.
The recently published TARGIT Trial has shown IORT to be safe and comparable to the more traditional external beam therapy while offering significant medical and quality of life benefits for patients. In addition, the TARGIT trial demonstrated a lower local complication rate in the breast for IORT than for traditional external beam radiation.
"The beauty of IORT for breast cancer patients is that within minutes they have completed their radiation treatment without even realizing it – it's the difference between 30 minutes or 30 days of treatment," explains Dr. Melvin Silverstein, medical director at Hoag Breast Care Center, Hoag Hospital and Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of Southern California. "At Hoag, we will deliver IORT as a definitive radiation treatment for selected patients, which means no additional radiation therapy is needed – a treatment approach that is gaining more traction in leading hospitals across the United States."
"We are pleased to be collaborating with our breast cancer surgeons in this innovative treatment approach which likely will be associated with increased patient satisfaction with no significant decrease in therapeutic efficacy," states Russell Hafer, chief of service for radiation oncology at Hoag Cancer Center.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women in the United States. It is estimated that approximately $13.8 billion is spent in the United States each year on treatment of breast cancer. Patients will benefit from advanced technologies such as IORT with faster recovery, more targeted radiation treatment and greater convenience. In addition, IORT will play a significant role in helping to reduce overall health care costs.