Mammosite 5-Day Targeted Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

MammoSite® 5-day Targeted Radiation Therapy is an advanced high-dose partial breast irradiation method for breast cancer treatment. Commonly, MammoSite is used following lumpectomy as a breast conservation strategy. For some women, it is an alternative to mastectomy (removal of the entire breast.) MammoSite targets the area where cancer recurrence is most likely to develop. Because it is specifically targeted, minimal radiation is delivered to other surrounding healthy tissues. It is especially appropriate for early stage breast cancers. With MammoSite, the duration of treatment is shortened from several weeks to just 5 days — without compromising the outcome.

After cancerous tissues are surgically removed, radiation therapy may be used to help keep the cancer from coming back. Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. Radiation disrupts the growth of cancer cells. Radiated cancer cells are not able to repair themselves or replicate, which helps to keep the cancer from coming back.

Radiation damages all cells, both healthy and cancerous, in the exposed area. MammoSite spares as many healthy cells as possible because it directs a high-dose of radiation to only a specific area surrounding the lumpectomy cavity. MammoSite following lumpectomy is a breast conservation strategy. For some women, it is an alternative to mastectomy (removal of the entire breast.)

MammoSite is a type of targeted radiation therapy, also referred to as brachytherapy. Targeted radiation therapy delivers a high-dose of radiation from inside of the body. Tiny sources of radiation called “seeds” are placed in the body and removed after a short period of time.

MammoSite is an outpatient procedure. The radiation is delivered two times a day for five days. Traditional radiation methods usually take six to seven weeks to complete. Most women experience little or no discomfort during the treatment or when the catheter is removed. MammoSite appears to be well tolerated and is associated with short-term mild side effects.

Your doctor will evaluate your cancer and determine if MammoSite is appropriate for you. MammoSite is used after lumpectomy. The MammoSite process consists of three steps: placement, treatment, and removal.

Your doctor will make a small incision in your breast. An uninflated MammoSite balloon catheter is gently placed inside your lumpectomy cavity. The balloon is filled with saline solution, saltwater, so that it fits snugly in the cavity. A small section of the catheter tube remains outside of your breast. It is secured to a gauze pad to prevent movement. Most women do not experience discomfort during the placement process.

A radiation oncologist will take images of the MammoSite balloon catheter in your breast and determine how much radiation you need. You will visit the radiation oncologist two times per day for five days to receive treatment. Each treatment lasts about 30 minutes.

During treatment, your catheter is connected to a computer-controlled machine. The machine inserts the radiation seed into the catheter to deliver the radiation therapy. When your therapy is complete, the seed is removed. The catheter is disconnected from the machine, and you are free to resume your regular activities. No radiation remains in your body in between treatments.

After completing five days of treatment, the MammoSite balloon catheter is removed. The catheter and balloon are gently extracted. The incision is closed with a small bandage. Most women do not experience discomfort during the removal process or significant side effects from the treatment.