Frequently Asked Questions
About Breast Microseed Treatment®
How soon after my lumpectomy can I have the procedure?
On average, Breast Microseed Treatment is performed 8-12 weeks after lumpectomy. Depending on the healing of the tissue where the lump was removed, Breast Microseed Treatment can also be performed 4 weeks post-lumpectomy.
How many seeds are implanted?
On average 75 seeds are implanted into the breast. Prior to the procedure, the physician determines the number of seeds appropriate for the patient using treatment planning software.
How do the seeds stay in place?
The seeds are surrounded by a bio-absorbable material called a “strand”. The stand holds the seeds in place for the treatment and then is safely absorbed by the body.
Will I be able to feel the seeds after the procedure?
No. The seeds cannot be felt even if they are relatively close to the skin surface. It is possible to feel the fluid filled cavity, (where the tumor was removed,) until it completely disappears. This is the case whether seeds have been implanted or not.
Should I be concerned about the seeds remaining in my breast after the treatment dose is delivered?
No. The seeds are covered with the same material (titanium) as surgical clips, which surgeons routinely use, and these clips safely remain in the body after surgical procedures such as lumpectomy and mastectomy.
Will I have any scarring on my skin from the procedure?
Scarring from lumpectomy is common and should be discussed with your surgeon. Scarring from Breast Microseed Treatment is minimal to non-existent.
When can I resume my normal activities?
Breast Microseed Treatment is performed on an outpatient basis. Patients can resume normal activity the next day, including showering and exercise.
Do the radioactive seeds pose a risk to other adults, children, or pets?
No. Research on radiation safety has established that there is very minimal risk to surrounding loved ones1. However, strictly as a precaution during the first month of treatment, it is recommended that the patient maintain a short distance away from pregnant women, children and infants. Brief, close contact, such as a greeting hug, is unlikely to pose any risk to adults, children, babies or pregnant women.
Why is Breast Microseed Treatment only available to women over the age of 50?
We adhere to the clinical guidelines proposed by medical societies (American Brachytherapy Society, American Society for Radiation Oncology) for our type of treatment. Guidelines show that Breast Microseed Treatment, a form of accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI), is best suited for women over 50.
Is Breast Microseed Treatment covered by insurance?
Breast Microseed Treatment is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare. Check with your insurance plan for details.
Will I still be able to have routine mammograms after the procedure?
Yes. Your physician can provide guidance to medical professionals so they are aware of the implanted Microseed® radiation sources and will know how to manage follow up mammograms.
Will the seeds prevent me from getting an MRI in the future?
No. The seeds are titanium, which is not magnetic, and therefore are MRI compatible.
What should I expect from chemotherapy for breast cancer?
Some women diagnosed with breast cancer will require chemotherapy. It depends on the type and stage of the cancer. If chemotherapy is part of the treatment plan, it may be given before or after surgery. Your medical team can answer your questions about chemotherapy and what to expect.
Is it good to decrease estrogen with breast cancer?
Hormonal therapy medicines can be used to decrease estrogen only in hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers. They may be used in the following ways:
- to lower the risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer in women who are at high risk, but have not been diagnosed with breast cancer,
- to lower the risk of early-stage, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer from returning after surgery, and
- to treat advanced-stage/metastatic hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.
You and your provider can decide if hormonal therapy is right for you.
What is the rate of breast cancer recurrence?
The rate of breast cancer recurrence varies, depending upon the type of breast cancer, the stage of the cancer and the type of treatment. Research has shown that lumpectomy plus accelerated partial breast irradiation (of which Breast Microseed Treatment® is a type) is similar in efficacy to lumpectomy plus whole breast irradiation at preventing cancer from returning.
What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?
The most common signs of breast cancer are changes in the look or feel of the breast or nipple, or discharge from the nipple. But often early-stage tumors may be too small to feel, and may not cause any symptoms. Because of this, early-stage cancers are often detected for the first time from a screening mammogram. This is why following your doctor’s guidance on routine mammograms is so important.
If you notice any changes to your breasts, it’s important to meet with your provider promptly for an evaluation.
What questions should I ask during my follow-up appointments?
After treatment for breast cancer, short and long-term follow-up care is important.
Some questions to ask your medical team in follow-up appointments might include:
- How often will I need to see my doctor/medical team?
- What follow-up medical tests will I need, and how often will I need them?
- How often will I need a mammogram?
- What is my risk of the cancer returning?
- What are the signs and symptoms to look for that my cancer may have returned?
- What things can I do to improve my general health to help prevent the cancer from returning?
- What resources are available that can provide ongoing emotional support for me as a breast cancer survivor?
If necessary, can a defibrillator be used on me in the future?
Yes. The seeds do not interfere with defibrillation.