Accelerated partial breast irradiation, or APBI, is a localized form of radiation treatment (brachytherapy) that involves the insertion of a radioactive "seed" to kill breast cancer cells that may remain after lumpectomy surgery. APBI delivers a highly effective dose of radiation while greatly reducing treatment time. This procedure requires close collaboration between the surgeon who removes the breast tumor, and the radiation oncologist who treats the tumor area after surgery.
Accelerated partial breast irradiation is performed about one to four weeks after a lumpectomy. A specialized catheter is inserted into the cavity left behind after removal of the tumor. The device remains in place during the course of APBI treatment, usually about 8-10 days.
There are currently three types of single-entry breast brachytherapy devices. Which one to use for the given patient is chosen by the surgeon and radiation oncologist based on the size and shape of the lumpectomy cavity. Each brachytherapy device is designed to hold the radioactive “seed” in designated positions within the device for defined lengths of time to insure radiation of the targeted breast tissue immediately surrounding the lumpectomy cavity:
During treatment, the iridium seed, about the size of a grain of rice, is inserted into the catheters (lumens). The seed is within the device in various dwell positions for a total of 5-10 minutes. The seed is withdrawn and then re-inserted six hours later, for a total of two treatments a day.
Benefits of Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation
When compared with standard radiation treatment, APBI offers several benefits:
ACCELERATED PARTIAL BREAST IRRADIATION (APBI)
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