Alexis Vanden Bos is feeling good after radiation treatment for breast cancer. It’s her second time battling the disease, in 2004; she had a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and whole breast irradiation.
“It just burned, burned, burned, and we actually didn’t get all the way through, we had to stop because the burn was so bad.”
This time, Alexis had a smaller tumor, which made partial breast irradiation an option after a lumpectomy.
She chose radiotherapy with cyber-knife. (:08)
“We do the same radiation, but it’s new delivery option, it delivers a very precise radiation field in a shorter period of time than traditional radiation.”
Until now, partial breast irradiation has been limited to external beam radiation or,
brachy-therapy, a technique using either a balloon, or needles and catheters to deliver localized radiation. (:09) In 2009, Sandra Vermeulen, a radiation oncologist, completed a small pilot study using cyber- knife to treat breast cancer patients.
“ We found very little in the way of side effects, there was some fatigue, there were no skin burns, there was very little swelling, lung, or the underlying heart. Here’s how it works. Breast surgeons place gold markers in the
area where the tumor is taken out. Cyber knife delivers radiation within those small margins.
“It can track motion, so you can focus it on an area of interest and it will treat that within one or two millimeters of accuracy.”
“Doing the cyber knife was fantastic, I can’t even describe how easy it was.
Yeah, it took a little effort, yeah, I had
a little swelling but it is amazing the difference,
It was as though I almost didn’t have radiation.”
“It is not an option for every single woman, it is not appropriate for every single woman who is going to have radiation therapy, but for carefully selected patients, it’s going to be a great option.