New Treatment Can Eliminate Breast Cancer in One Day

The new procedure is called intraoperative radiation therapy and delivers a concentrated does of radiation therapy to a tumor bed during surgery

A new treatment option in Texas is giving breast cancer patients the power to beat the disease in a single day.

It combines surgery with radiation to eliminate the cancer in just one treatment.

Mildred Schiffer, of Pittsburg, became one of the first in-state patients to try it, according to Medical City Plano.

The 74-year-old has a family history of breast cancer and discovered a lump in her breast while in bed one morning, despite maintaining excellent health.

"I was coming back from a walk and I said to myself, 'Gee, I am lucky. I'm 74. I'm healthy. I take one thyroid pill a day, that's it.' Two days later, I found out I had breast cancer," Schiffer said.

Tests confirmed the tumor was in its early stages and the cancer hadn't spread.

She fit the criteria to undergo a new procedure called intraoperative radiation therapy, which delivers a concentrated dose of radiation therapy to a tumor bed during surgery.

"It's a single dose of radiation at the time of surgery, while you're still asleep," said Dr. Beth Anglin, breast surgeon at Medical City Plano and the first Texas doctor to offer the procedure, according to the hospital system.

She said combining radiation treatment with cancer surgery replaces the need for patients to return for up to 30 separate radiation treatments, which can be the standard of care for whole breast radiation.

"Some women do choose not to do radiation just because there are some side effects. They're also inconvenient. If someone lives far away, getting a one-dose radiation treatment might help them choose radiation, whereas they would get a lesser treatment if not."

With IORT, a radiation oncologist delivers a large dose of radiation in a single treatment session, while also working to preserve more healthy tissue. 

Ten days after her surgery, Schiffer said she has zero pain and she is cancer free.

"It's hard to believe that it's over and done with," she said. "I'm glad I found it and I suggest that every woman give themselves self exams because you never know what you might find."

A patient must be a surgical candidate in order to be eligible for the therapy, which is generally reserved for individuals with early-stage disease.

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