September 18, 2008
Radiation Medical Group Is First in Nation to Offer New Breast Cancer Treatment Option
Radiation Medical Group, Inc. is the first center in the nation to use a new version of the SAVI applicator for radiation treatment of breast cancer, potentially expanding the number of women who will qualify for breast brachytherapy.
RMG is the first center to use the SAVI(TM) 6-1Mini applicator, which is designed for the delivery of radiation to small or hard-to-treat lumpectomy cavities. The new device makes a shorter, more convenient form of radiation therapy available to more women.
"We are proud to be the first center to offer this new SAVI applicator option," said Gina Mansy, M.D., a radiation oncologist at RMG. "We are committed to providing women with state-of-the-art technology and the latest treatment breakthroughs, to arm them in the fight against breast cancer."
Devices like the SAVI applicator provide a form of radiation known as breast brachytherapy, which targets the tumor site from inside the breast. Breast brachytherapy typically involves two treatments per day for just five days. The traditional form of therapy, whole breast radiation, requires five treatments a week for a period of six weeks, which can be inconvenient for women.
Describing the first case, Dr. Mansy said: "The patient wanted to have an accelerated course of therapy, but with her small breasts and small tumor cavity, other breast brachytherapy devices simply would not have fit. Without SAVI, she would have had to undergo six weeks of standard radiation instead of just five days of therapy with this device."
In addition to shortening the therapy time, the new applicator minimizes radiation exposure of healthy tissue. This approach reduces damage to critical structures such as the skin, heart, lungs and ribs.
SAVI is the only single-entry device that enables physicians to sculpt the radiation dose specifically to the patient's specific anatomy. The ability to control the dose provides several advantages over other, balloon brachytherapy devices.
"I've used the balloon on several occasions, but there were many cases where I either had to remove the device or decline treatment because the tumor bed was too close to the skin," said Dr. Mansy. "This newer device uses multiple catheters, which allows you to manipulate the dose and direct it away from healthy structures, regardless of the size or shape of the cavity."
RMG expects the device to increase the number of women who can choose a five-day course of treatment.
"The SAVI 6-1Mini applicator will benefit many women who are interested in breast brachytherapy, particularly those who are not candidates for other devices," said Julie Barone, M.D., a breast surgeon with Oncology Associates of San Diego. "This new device provides the option of an accelerated form of radiation to women with small breasts or those with lumpectomy cavities close to the skin."
Post-operative radiotherapy to the breast is part of the routine care of patients who choose to have lumpectomy surgery. Lumpectomy, combined with radiation, is an appropriate treatment for most women with early-stage breast cancer. It provides equivalent survival to that of mastectomy and is often preferred by many women because it allows preservation of the breast.
RMG also offers Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) for breast cancer treatment. IMRT is the most technologically advanced treatment available in external beam radiation therapy. It involves directing a high dose radiation beam to a specific target on the body such as a tumor.
About Radiation Medical Group, Inc.
Radiation Medical Group has become San Diego's leading expert on radiation therapy by using the most advanced techniques and the latest equipment. With its multi-disciplinary approach to cancer care, RMG offers an expert team of specially trained physicians, physicists, therapists, nurses, and complementary therapists, who work with patients to design a customized plan of care that aims to effectively and comfortably treat cancer while preserving healthy tissue and minimizing side effects. RMG has three locations in the San Diego area. For more information, visit www.rmgmed.com or call 619-230-0400.