Lakeland First in Region to Provide New Breast Cancer Treatment Option

ZEISS INTRABEAMWomen with certain types of early-stage breast cancer now have a new treatment option available to them. Lakeland Health recently became the first in the region (west Michigan and northern Indiana) to begin providing radiotherapy using the ZEISS INTRABEAM intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) system.Up until now, the treatment has only been offered primarily at large university medical centers and research hospitals.

This may be an excellent therapy option for women having breast-conserving surgery, also known as a lumpectomy, according to Radiation Oncologist, Benjamin Gielda, MD, at Lakeland Health. General surgeons Elizabeth Jeffers, MD, and James Clancy III, MD, recently traveled to Germany to become trained on the surgical technique.

The Intrabeam device allows an entire course of radiation to be delivered in one single session in the operating room after a woman has surgery to remove her breast cancer. This is different than the traditional course of treatment which involves lumpectomy surgery, several weeks for recovery, and then three to seven weeks of daily radiation.

“It is a burden in the lives of many women who have to come to the hospital every day for radiation treatment,” said Dr. Gielda. “At the same time issues with work, family, and transportation can cause patients to have to skip radiation treatments which we know are associated with improved survival rates – it needs to happen. This single-treatment of radiation in the operating room removes all of those barriers and helps patients get back to their lives more quickly.”

Women who have been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer should talk with their doctor about whether this treatment is right for them.

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