Cooper Cancer Institute was recently named a “Center of Excellence” in accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) for its use of the SAVI® applicator, an advanced therapy for breast cancer as part of breast conservation therapy.
Designation as a Center of Excellence recognizes Cooper’s dedication to education, training and experience in APBI. To qualify, Cooper physicians, medical physicists and clinical staff were required to complete a comprehensive training and education program, as well demonstrate a commitment to patient education, advocacy and awareness.
Cooper radiation oncologists work closely with breast surgeons, medical oncologists and the other members of the multidisciplinary breast cancer team to identify appropriate candidates for this treatment and coordinate seamless care.
The new SAVI applicator delivers a form of radiation therapy known as breast brachytherapy. This approach targets the tumor site from inside the breast and is becoming a more widely used alternative to traditional radiation.
Breast brachytherapy typically involves two treatments per day for only 5 days. This shorter timeframe makes brachytherapy far more convenient than traditional, external-beam radiation, which is delivered five times a week over the course of six or seven weeks.
In addition to shortening the therapy time, breast brachytherapy with SAVI minimizes radiation exposure of healthy tissue, which reduces damage to critical structures such as the skin, heart, lungs and ribs.
The multi-catheter SAVI applicator treats the tissue surrounding the lumpectomy cavity from the inside out. The device is inserted into the lumpectomy cavity through a small incision. The physician then gently expands the bundle of catheters so the radiation dose will conform to the size and shape of the area to be treated.
Not all women with early-stage breast cancer are candidates for this treatment but for those who are and who choose lumpectomy, the SAVI technique is an exciting new radiation therapy option.