Cooper Cancer Institute now offers a new type of breast treatment for women with early stage breast cancer. The new device called SAVI (Strut Adjusted Volume Implant) is used for Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI). The SAVI device is a bundle of soft, tiny catheters placed inside the tissue cavity left by lumpectomy to deliver APBI as part of breast conservation therapy. It has the advantage of combining the ease of the single-entry of balloon brachytherapy with the tissue-sparing dosimetry of interstitial Brachytherapy.
Notably, SAVI treatment can be completed in just five to seven days, versus the five to seven weeks that standard external beam radiation therapy entails.
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.
“At the time of lumpectomy, a temporary balloon is placed in the lumpectomy cavity for about three days while the pathology is being reviewed,” says Kristin Brill, MD, Cooper Breast Surgeon and Head of the Janet Knowles Breast Cancer Center. “Then, the balloon is removed and the SAVI device is inserted”
“Once placed, the SAVI catheter bundle expands and is adjusted to conform to the size and shape of the tumor cavity,” explains Cooper Radiation Oncologist Ashraf Youssef, MD, an expert in partial breast irradiation. “During treatment, the radiation dose is individually controlled through each tiny catheter, allowing precise targeting that delivers the optimal dose for the affected tissue, and the most protection for surrounding healthy tissue.” After the final treatment, the applicator is collapsed and removed.
Physicians can customize radiation dose based on patient-specific anatomy, making it the ideal single-entry breast brachytherapy treatment method when the skin and ribs are close to the lumpectomy cavity. These benefits include less skin toxicity, reduced infection risk and improved cosmesis.
Not all women with early-stage breast cancer are candidates for this treatment, Dr. Youssef notes. “But for those who are and who choose lumpectomy, the SAVI technique is an exciting new radiation therapy option,” he says.