Breast Cancer Treatment

Published On 07/11/2011

Methodist University Hospital is the first cancer facility in Memphis to offer the SAVI™ applicator, an advanced therapy for breast cancer as part of breast-conservation therapy. The SAVI™ applicator can provide important advantages for women with early-stage breast cancer.

Breast-conservation therapy includes a lumpectomy—the surgical removal of the cancerous tissue within the breast plus tissue immediately around the tumor—followed by radiation. This is an alternative to mastectomy, which removes the entire breast and is often followed by breast reconstruction.

The new SAVI™ applicator delivers a form of radiation therapy known as breast brachytherapy. This approach, which targets the tumor site from inside the breast, is becoming a more widely used alternative to traditional radiation. A surgeon inserts the device into the lumpectomy cavity through a small incision. The radiation oncologist then gently expands the bundle of catheters so the radiation dose will conform precisely to the size and shape of the area to be treated.

Breast brachytherapy typically involves two treatments per day for only five days. Traditional, external-beam radiation is delivered five times a week for six or seven weeks.

In addition to shortening the therapy time, time away from work and travel expenses, breast brachytherapy with SAVI™ minimizes radiation exposure of healthy tissue, which reduces damage to critical structures such as the skin, heart, lungs and ribs.

The SAVI™ procedure offered at Methodist University Hospital is designed to make the benefits of breast-conservation therapy and brachytherapy available to more women. Ask your doctor if SAVI™ is right for you.