It’s not often that the word “revolutionary” actually follows through on its promise.
But in this case, a cancer treatment that is cutting cost, time, and side effects for patients with a variety of cancers is making a profound difference in the lives of thousands of people.
When undergoing a traditional radiation treatment series, the patient must receive the therapy every day for four to eight weeks.
A newer radiation treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over a year ago just takes eight minutes.
Known as Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT), the procedure involves one single dose of radiation delivered at the time of a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy. Because there is only one treatment to be had, the recovery time, treatment time, and cost are all significantly lower than traditional radiation. The technology has been used in Europe for decades, but was only approved for use in the U.S. in 2013.
In early stage breast cancer patients, by treating the tumor bed only, IORT delivers a much smaller dose to the area, while sparing healthy tissue and organs such as the heart, lungs and rib cage.
There are several different IORT machines used to deliver the same treatment for people have been approved, such as Varian, Hologic and Zeiss, but these are large and require special procedures. The Xoft System is small and portable, using a miniaturized X-ray tube technology to perform the same procedure.
The small device was used on Harriett, 78, of Alexandria, Virginia, who always said she’d never undergo chemotherapy or radiation if she was diagnosed with cancer.
But, when that diagnosis came in April of 2014 after a malignant tumor was found in her breast, she was referred to a doctor where she was offered the IORT treatment and agreed to schedule it.
“There were no ill effects at all, I just had to recover from the surgery itself, the lumpectomy, which took about three weeks,” she told Good News Network. “I got along very well after that, and have been clear of cancer. I had a checkup in May and there was no sign of anything.”
She will be celebrating her 79th birthday this Friday.
Currently, the small device is being used at 70 hospitals and cancer treatment centers around the world. To date, more than 10,000 patients have been treated globally, across all clinical applications, with the Xoft System, which can also be used on non-melanoma skin cancer and gynecological cancers.
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