As far too many women know, being diagnosed with breast cancer is a life-altering experience. For most women, traditional treatments involve surgery followed by five to six weeks of radiation or chemotherapy, leaving them to wonder: How will I ever manage to juggle this demanding treatment regimen with an equally hectic work schedule, plus my family at home? Now, thanks to a treatment option available at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Philadelphia, patients can receive treatment for their breast cancer and get back to their lives more quickly than they ever thought possible. Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT), using the Novac7 technology, allows patients to receive radiation treatment, delivered with the same power and precision as other advanced radiation techniques, while still in the operating room undergoing surgery. IORT often replaces additional outpatient radiation treatment visits and offers fewer side effects, better cosmetic results and improved quality of life as the need for additional radiation treatment is minimized or eliminated altogether.
After his mother passed away from breast cancer, Dr. Pablo Lavagnini, director of radiation oncology at CTCA, began fighting to bring the world’s best cancer-fighting options to patients. He became a crusader for IORT, a treatment option widely used in Europe, and led CTCA’s efforts to become the first hospital in the United States to use the Novac7 technology.
Since the Novac7 arrived at CTCA in October 2009, Dr. Lavagnini’s only sister discovered her own breast cancer diagnosis. She traveled from her home in Uruguay to seek a second opinion from her brother, and ironically, she became the very first patient in the U.S. to receive IORT with the Novac7.
“It is as if my life’s work was leading up to that day,” said Dr. Lavagnini. “I never expected my sister to be my patient, but I am thankful that she was among the many women who will benefit from this technology. I expect that IORT will change the standard of care for breast cancer over time.”
While IORT offers significant benefits for breast cancer patients, it can be a valuable tool for patients battling many other cancer types. Any patient who is having surgery to remove a tumor has a high likelihood of benefiting from IORT. Often times IORT can replace weeks of traditional radiation therapy, by giving a “boost” of radiation during surgery.
For more information, go to cancercenter.com.