Intra-operative Radiation Therapy, or IORT, offered at the Goshen Center for Cancer Care gives breast cancer patients another option when receiving radiation.
“IORT is a one-time dose of radiation that’s given in the operating room, at the same time as their breast cancer surgeries, as their lumpectomy,” says Dr. Fiona Denham, breast surgical oncologist at the Goshen Center for Cancer Care.
A lumpectomy is when only the tumor in the breast in removed, and breast skin and tissue are conserved. Once that happens during surgery, the team places a balloon in the breast, fills it with water and saline, and radiation is given to the patient.
Because IORT is a one-time treatment while a patient is under anesthesia, a patient’s time alone is a benefit for the treatment, but there are others.
“You could argue from an anxiety standpoint or psychological standpoint, that it’s more comfortable for patients from that respect, as well,” says Dr. Denham.
IORT does have some requirements for treatment.
“It’s is for any female patients over the age of 50. They have to have an invasive ductal carcinoma as far as their type of breast cancer tumor, it needs to be estrogen receptor positive HER2-, under about 2 centimeters in size, and clinically no negative, meaning they don’t have any abnormal or suspicious lymph nodes prior to the time of surgery,” says Dr. Denham.
If that feels overwhelming, the team of doctors at Goshen Center for Cancer Care will help out.
“I think the team approach is integral to making sure we have the best plan for each patient. Every patient is assessed on an individual basis, because they’re all individualized, you know, based on the type of tumor they have, based on their medical background, based on their personal desires, and what is going to be the best treatment, and the best option for the,” explain Dr. Denham.