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Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI)

Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI)

This therapy, which focuses radiation on a smaller area, is a good alternative to standard radiation therapy for breast cancer patients with early stage breast cancers that show no evidence of spread. Like most treatments, accelerated partial breast irradiation has pros and cons. It's more invasive than standard radiation therapy and is not appropriate for all patients.

The advantages of accelerated partial breast irradiation are:

  • Less exposure to radiation
  • Shorter treatment time
  • Fewer side effects
  • Improved cosmetic outcomes
  • Improved treatment experience for the patient

APBI treatment delivery options include:

  • Balloon catheter brachytherapy (Mammosite)
  • Multi-catheter brachytherapy
  • 3D conformal external beam irradiation

How brachytherapy works

With brachytherapy, the source of radiation is placed next to to the cancer and/or the tissue surrounding it. This is different from external radiation treatments that use linear accelerators to "shoot" radiation into a portion of the body from the outside.

Brachytherapy has been used as a standard treatment for many years to manage prostate, cervical and other cancers. Previous thinking was that irradiating the whole breast gave better cancer control; however, as most recurrent cancers appear near the original tumor location, more precisely targeted radiation is now an accepted treatment.

Monitoring APBI patients

Legacy Cancer Institute is monitoring  all patients undergoing APBI for at least five years to evaluate for adequate tumor control, improved cosmetics, decreased side effects and improved quality of life and treatment experience for breast cancer patients.

For more information, please call 503-413-7135. A physician referral is required for consultation and treatment.