A Voice in the Breast Cancer Community

Which Post-Lumpectomy Radiation Treatment Is Right for You?

If you’re reading this, you were diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer not too long ago and have had a lumpectomy to remove the tumor. Now, you’re looking at follow-up (post-lumpectomy) radiation treatments to prevent the cancer from coming back.

There are a number of post-lumpectomy radiation options out there, so it can be hard to figure out which is right for you. But choosing a follow-up radiation treatment is the first step to getting back to your normal, "pre-cancer" life. In this blog, we walk you through three areas of practical concern when choosing follow-up radiation:

  1. Time and convenience of treatment
  2. Side effects of treatment
  3. Caretaking

Time and Convenience

The truth is, some follow-up radiation treatments take longer than others. For many women, the time and inconvenience of traditional radiation options are a big stumbling block, especially if their jobs aren’t flexible about time off or they don’t live close to a hospital or clinic.

The most common radiation treatment is external beam radiation therapy, which involves sending targeted radiation beams into the breast. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most inconvenient treatment options. It can require up to 30 radiation sessions, five days a week, at a hospital or clinic. That’s six weeks of daily treatment (Monday through Friday).  

It was actually the inconvenience of conventional external beam radiation therapy that led to the development of a shortened course of external beam called hypofractionated external beam, but even this treatment still requires 16 radiation sessions.

And while it involves fewer trips to the hospital, catheter-based brachytherapy—the most common form of internal radiation therapy—is also inconvenient. Typical treatments, where a high-dose rate radiation source is inserted and then removed from a catheter, require two treatments per day for five days. Because the catheter must remain in the breast for the full five-day course of treatment, in order to prevent infection, women are not allowed to shower for the duration of the treatment. And because catheter-based brachytherapy requires two treatments per day, women must either make two separate trips to the hospital every day for five days or, if they don’t live close by, they are forced to remain near the hospital all day during the 10-session treatment duration.

Luckily, there is a faster, more advanced, and less invasive option for follow-up treatment that is effective at preventing the recurrence of cancer. Breast Microseed Treatment® is a single, one-hour outpatient procedure, proven safe and effective in over ten years of clinical trials. It involves the implantation of tiny, low-dose-rate radiation seeds in the tissue surrounding the lumpectomy site. The seeds stay in the breast and continue to deliver targeted radiation over time, so women who have the procedure don’t have to make any return visits to the hospital for treatment. For women who have time and convenience concerns, Breast Microseed Treatment is by far the best available treatment option because the procedure is administered in a single outpatient visit – patients go home the same day and can resume their normal activities the very next day. It’s One Time, One Hour.

Side Effects

Unfortunately, radiation therapies come with an assortment of different side effects, ranging from mild inconveniences to life-changing issues. Some side effects are visible, like skin discoloration or burns that leave scars, while others are invisible, like fatigue or radiation fibrosis. Finding a treatment option that minimizes side effects is another important consideration for many women who are ready to get back to their “pre-cancer” lives.

With external beam radiation, the most common side effects are skin problems, ranging from mild skin discoloration to blisters and burns. Other major side effects of external beam radiation include fatigue, soreness, and unintended radiation to internal organs.These side effects can even cause longer-term health problems. And while other side effects are not as extreme, they are certainly inconvenient and disruptive to a woman’s regular activities. Because external beam radiation is prone to causing skin sensitivity, women are advised to avoid temperature changes and sun exposure for up to a year after finishing treatment. They are also barred from using deodorant, perfumes, or lotions during their treatment period. 

Similarly, catheter-based brachytherapy comes with a risk of potential side effects, most related to having a catheter remaining in the breast for the duration of the course of treatment. Unsurprisingly, catheter-based brachytherapy comes with a higher risk of infection. Again, in order to minimize that infection risk with catheter-based brachytherapy, women are not allowed to shower during the week-long treatment period.

In terms of side effects, Breast Microseed Treatment is the clear winner. The treatment is FDA cleared and is a more patient-friendly option that its counterparts. Unlike other radiation options, Breast Microseed Treatment has minimal side effects, allowing women to continue their normal activities like spending time outdoors, socializing, showering, and using the beauty products of their choice—all the things that make women feel like themselves. It’s no wonder the patient satisfaction rate with Breast Microseed Treatment is 98%.

Caretaking

Lastly, many women have caretaking responsibilities, whether it’s elderly parents, a spouse, children or grandchildren who haven’t yet launched into the world. But some radiation options significantly impair women’s ability to care for those they love because so much time away from home is required for them to receive treatment, and side effects from those treatments can be debilitating.

During external beam radiation, patients commonly experience fatigue and pain, making it hard for women to care for others during their treatment and recovery period. Not only that, it requires women to spend significant time at the hospital, instead of living their lives.

But there is a treatment option that doesn’t exhaust women, cause them debilitating pain, or take them away from the people and activities they love. With Breast Microseed Treatment, women can continue spending time and caring for their loved ones without worrying about excessive time away for treatment. Because it’s a single, one-hour procedure, they can get back to their normal lives immediately.

Conclusion

After a lumpectomy, follow-up radiation gives you additional peace of mind that the cancer is gone. It can help you put cancer behind you. But you shouldn’t have to sacrifice living your life to put cancer in the rear-view mirror.

It’s true that some follow-up radiation options are time-consuming, harsh, and take you away from your loved ones, job and favorite activities. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. With more than ten years of clinical trials demonstrating its efficacy, Breast Microseed Treatment is the faster, better post-lumpectomy radiation treatment option. After the procedure, you can go home the same day and get back to living your normal “pre-cancer” life. Ask your doctor about Breast Microseed Treatment today.



Concure Oncology®

Dedicated to helping you put cancer behind you so you can get back to your life faster, with the peace of mind that comes from following the appropriate breast cancer treatment to help prevent a recurrence.

 
Kevin Kelley
Chief Executive Officer
 
Jason Dyer
Vice President, U.S. Sales

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