Christ Hospital Cited For Breast Cancer Treatments
Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn has been designated a center of excellence because of its use of advanced technology to conserve a patient's breast during cancer therapy.
Specifically, the Advocate Christ Center for Breast Care, part of the Cancer Institute of Advocate Christ Medical Center, has been cited for its successful use of the SAVI applicator for accelerated partial breast irradiation. The procedure significantly shortens treatment time and minimizes radiation exposure of healthy breast tissue.
Designation of the medical center as a center of excellence was celebrated Sept. 27 at a special luncheon, attended by staff of the campus' center for breast care, including physicians and nurses, and members of the medical center radiation oncology team; breast cancer patients who have undergone a SAVI procedure; and representatives of Cianna Medical Inc., which developed the technology.
Cianna Medical, Inc. is based in Aliso Viejo, Calif. and is a women's health company dedicated to the early treatment of breast cancer.
Selection of Christ Medical Center as a center of excellence recognizes the facility's dedication, training and experience in APBI. To qualify, the center's physicians, medical physicists and clinical staff were required to complete a comprehensive education and training program to demonstrate proficiency in delivering radiation therapy with SAVI. The center also has expressed a commitment to patient education, advocacy and awareness of advanced breast cancer treatments.
Experts argue that the SAVI applicator can provide important advantages for women with early-stage breast cancer and may extend the benefits of breast conservation therapy to a larger group of women.
Breast-conservation therapy includes lumpectomy - the surgical removal of cancerous tissue within the breast, plus tissue immediately surrounding the tumor - followed by radiation. This approach is an alternative to mastectomy, which involves removal of the entire diseased breast and may be followed by breast reconstruction.
The new, multi-catheter SAVI applicator delivers a form of radiation therapy known as breast brachytherapy. This approach, which typically requires two treatments per day for only five days, targets the tumor site from inside the breast and is becoming a more widely used alternative to traditional, external-beam radiation. External-beam radiation must be given five times a week for a six- or seven-week period. Such an extended treatment time is far less convenient because many women must travel some distance to receive the therapy, and this ongoing travel can put additional stress on families, jobs and financial resources.
In addition to shortening the treatment time, breast brachytherapy with SAVI reduces exposure of healthy tissue to radiation, thereby limiting damage to critical structures like the skin, heart, lungs and ribs. Traditional external-beam therapy typically involves irradiation of the entire breast.
The SAVI applicator treats the tissue surrounding the lumpectomy cavity from the inside out. The device is first inserted into the cavity through a small incision. The physician then gently expands the device's bundle of catheters so that the radiation dose will conform to the size and shape of the area to be treated.
"This technology overcomes the limitations of older brachytherapy devices. The use of SAVI allows us to provide more women with the advantages of breast brachytherapy," said Advocate Christ Medical Center surgeon, Barbara Lynn Krueger MD, who prepares women for APBI and implants the SAVI applicator in the breast.