Single-dose intraoperative radiotherapy (SD-IORTTM) for breast cancer is considered a safe and effective alternative to conventional external beam radiotherapy for early breast cancer. SD-IORTTM is a single dose given by your breast surgeon in one treatment. It can be a practical and convenient option as it is performed at the same time as the tumour removal and it is usually possible for the patient to go home on the same day.
We caught up with Consultant Surgeon Ekambaram Babu from BMI Bishops Wood Hospital to talk about the treatment in more detail…
Can you tell us about the IORT (intra-operative radiotherapy) procedure at BMI Bishops Wood?
Bishops Wood Hospital Breast Clinic has a wonderful multi-disciplinary cancer care team. Firstly we identify the patient’s suitability for the intraoperative procedure which means we adhere to strict guidelines that are available from a target trial group. Our team consisting of surgeons, a radiologist, an oncologist and a breast care nurse will decide as a group before the patient is booked in for the procedure.
We will look at whether an MRI scan is required to identify if there is more than one tumour in the breast (multi-focal), we also assess the axilla very carefully (armpit region consisting of lymph nodes) by ultrasound and may take a biopsy if necessary using a fine needle. Only if we find that the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes is the patient suitable for the IORT procedure.
After a wide local excision, we assess the margins (the distance between the tumour and the edge of surrounding tissues) by specimen xray. We also remove skin in front of the tumour, for complete clearance of the tumour. After confirmation of good margin clearance, we plan to give IORT.
Once the radiotherapy is completed we finish the procedure by stitching the wound and the patient goes home on the same day. So far we have never had any problems related to the operation or radiotherapy.