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What is Partial Breast Irradiation?

Last updated 2 years ago

Thanks to recent developments in medical knowledge and technology, women affected by breast cancer have more treatment options available to them than ever before. In the past, women who were diagnosed with early-stage, localized breast cancer had only mastectomy or lumpectomy with whole-breast radiation as their main option for treatment. Those who wanted to keep their breasts were subjected to over six weeks of aggressive radiation and many suffered cosmetic side effects such as skin discoloration and breast retraction. Fortunately, the recent introduction of partial breast irradiation provides a more advanced option to women undergoing lumpectomy.

Partial breast irradiation, also known as PBI, is a newer way to deliver radiation therapy after surgery to remove a breast tumor. Instead of multiple weeks of radiation treatments, PBI is administered for five days, two times each day. Instead of many low-dose radiation treatments, higher doses of radiation are given in fewer sessions. With this technique, the cosmetic results seem to be improved—much less skin discoloration or breast retraction is reported when compared with whole-breast radiation.

According to a study released by the National Cancer Institute, women who undergo PBI appear to have the same recurrence rate as those who have received whole-breast radiation. In other words, PBI seems to be just as effective in preventing the recurrence of breast cancer without causing severe cosmetic effects.

If you have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may be a candidate for lumpectomy with partial breast irradiation if you:

  • Have early-stage breast cancer that has not spread to any other organs.
  • Are interested in keeping your breast instead of undergoing a full mastectomy.
  • Are concerned about your breasts remaining as identical as possible in size.

If you have any further questions about the benefits and advantages of this relatively new cancer therapy, contact Marla W. Dudak, MD of Boca Raton, Florida at (888) 418-6759. Dr. Dudak is a board-certified and fellowship-trained surgeon specializing in the treatment and elimination of breast cancer.


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