Intraoperative Electron Radiation Therapy (IOERT)
Intraoperative Electron Radiation Therapy (IOERT)
JFK Medical Center is the first in Palm Beach County and The Treasure Coast to offer a new state-of-the-art technology to treat breast cancer called Intraopertive Electron Radiation Therapy (IOERT).
Advances in surgery and radiation therapy make breast cancer treatments safer and more convenient than ever before. Standard radiation therapy involves five days of treatment per week, for a total of up to six weeks for some patients. With IOERT, our radiation oncologists can deliver a similar dose of radiation in a single treatment session, while also preserving more healthy tissue. This helps to reduce side effects and the time spent going back and forth to the hospital for radiation treatments.
Intraoperative Radiation Therapy is a practical and safe alternative to standard whole breast radiation therapy. IOERT is administered to the inside of the breast during surgery, immediately after removal of the cancer. When you wake up from anesthesia, your breast surgery and radiation therapy are both completely done. Most eligible patients won’t need to undergo any additional radiation therapy, the remaining patients could still benefit from IOERT as a boost during surgery followed by 3 to 5 weeks of external beam radiation therapy.
Intraoperative Electron Beam Radiation Therapy (IOERT) uses electron-beams rather than x-rays to deliver the radiation precisely to the area of the breast where the tumor was removed.
IOERT is not only more convenient, it is also effective at reducing the risk of cancer recurrence. Since it is administered to the inside of the breast rather than through the skin, IOERT reduces radiation side effects on the breast skin.
How does Intraoperative Radiation Therapy work?
IOERT is a practical and safe technique that is done while you’re still in surgery. The radiation dose you need is aimed directly at your exposed tumor area, while surrounding healthy tissue is moved aside and protected. Reducing the amount of tissue that is radiated reduces both early and late side effects. The entire dose of radiation is delivered at one time, with no further need for radiotherapy treatments after surgery. IOERT offers some of the following advantages:
Maximum effect. IOERT delivers a concentrated dose of radiation to a tumor site immediately after a tumor is removed, helping to destroy the microscopic tumor cells that may be left behind. The tumor site is typically at highest risk for local recurrence. Traditional radiation therapy requires a recovery period after surgery, which leaves microscopic disease in the body for longer. This delay may also make the tissue more resistant to the effects of radiation.
Spares healthy tissues and organs. During IOERT, a precise radiation dose is applied while shielding healthy tissues or structures, such as the skin, the heart, and the lungs, that could be damaged using other techniques. This allows a higher radiation dose to be delivered to the tumor bed, while sparing normal surrounding tissues.
Shortened treatment times. IOERT helps some patients finish treatment and get back to their lives more quickly by reducing the need for additional radiation therapy. Standard treatment lasts typically five to six weeks.
A “boost” for traditional radiation patients. Patients who must receive additional radiation therapy following surgery can receive a boost of radiation during IOERT. After they have recovered from the surgical procedure, they can continue with their radiation treatments, but the total course of treatment is shortened by 1-2 weeks.
Benefits of IOERT
Saves time: For patients who are eligible for single dose treatment the entire therapeutic dose of breast radiation is given immediately at the time of lumpectomy (removal of the tumor) while the patient is still under anesthesia. This allows the patient to return to normal life more quickly.
Convenience for patients: Traditionally, breast cancer patients would need to come back to undergo radiation therapy for five days a week for up to three to six weeks after they heal from surgery. For some patients who undergo IOERT, there are typically no return trips for radiation. Others who use the IOERT as a boost dose can save up to two weeks of treatment.
Targeted radiation therapy: Radiation is given directly and internally to the sections of the breast with the biggest risk of cancer recurrence.
Team approach: The Radiation Oncologist is in the operating room with the surgeon.
Decreased side effects: Because the skin is protected during IOERT, it has been found to decrease side effects such as red rashes and skin irritations that occur during traditional radiation therapy.
Who is a candidate for IOERT?
A patient must be a surgical candidate in order to be eligible for IOERT. This treatment is generally reserved for individuals with early-stage disease. Your doctor will discuss whether IOERT is an appropriate treatment option for you, based on your individual diagnosis, tumor characteristics, and personal preference.
For more information or to schedule an appointment to see if you are a candidate for this procedure call 561-548-4JFK (4535).