Women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer can choose to have a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy as an alternative to mastectomy. Some of these women may be candidates for a treatment technique called accelerated partial breast radiation, in which radiation is directed to only a portion of the breast.
For this treatment, Baptist uses SAVI, (“Strut-Adjusted Volume Implant”) technology for high dose radiation that shortens the treatment time from 25-35 days to just five days. Your physician will determine if you are a SAVI candidate based on certain medical criteria.
The SAVI device is implanted into the lumpectomy cavity with a small incision. The device is then loaded with radioactive seeds that will deliver the prescribed radiation dose. It provides radiation from inside the breast, a method called brachytherapy.
Because it targets radiation where it’s needed and minimizes exposure to healthy tissue, such as the skin, lung and heart, this treatment decreases toxicity and lowers the risk of adverse cosmetic side effects.
At Baptist, SAVI implants are placed by a surgeon either in surgery at the time of the lumpectomy, or in a physician’s office as an outpatient procedure with local anesthesia.
Treatment is typically twice a day for five days, and after the final treatment, the implant is removed. Each day’s treatments are scheduled at least six hours apart.
During treatment, normal and temporary side effects may be:
After treatment is complete and the SAVI implant is removed, most people are able to return to normal activities almost immediately. Over-the-counter pain relievers may be used as needed for any lingering discomfort.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, discuss all your treatment options with your doctor. In general, SAVI may be an option for those with early stage breast cancer who undergo lumpectomy and require radiation therapy.
If you would like to become a patient at Baptist, the first step is to see one of our physicians. Use our online form to begin this process, or call our Baptist Health Line at 601-948-6262. This is a free service.
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