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Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation After Lumpectomy (APBI)

Ongoing research suggests that in certain patients, it may be safe to give radiation treatment to only the part of the breast that had the tumor, over a shorter period of time.

There are two different approaches to APBI:

  • Breast brachytherapy (internal radiation) involves placing flexible plastic tubes called catheters, or a balloon-like device (BLD), directly into the cavity where the cancer was taken out. A small, radioactive seed is guided into the catheters or BLD and is left in place for several minutes based on the treatment plan designed by the radiation oncologist. The procedure is repeated twice daily for a period of five days, then the catheters or BLD are removed and the treatment is finished.
  • External beam radiation is delivered in a similar way to standard whole breast radiation using a linear accelerator. However, it is more focused on the area around the surgery. Treatment occurs twice daily over a one week period.

The long-term results of these techniques appear promising but are still being studied. Talk with your radiation oncologist for more information.