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New Cancer Therapy

May 26, 2011, 6:09 PM by Peggy Moyer

New Cancer Therapy
SIOUX FALLS, SD - It's a big breakthrough in breast cancer treatment. And it's making life easier for cancer patients in KELOLAND.

This new radiation therapy targets cells when they are most exposed.

It's called Intra-operative Electron Beam Radiation Therapy. In short, when a patient has a lumpectomy, surgeons and oncologists share the operating room.

"We take the cancer out. We know exactly where the cancer was, we put the tissue edges back together and we bring a radiation machine in and we give a dose of radiation at that time," Dr. Julie Reiland with Comprehensive Breast Care said.

That dose is called a boost. It's a stronger beam of radiation than a person's skin could handle so it's delivered in the operating room while the incision is still open. The procedure, being conducted at the Avera Cancer Institute, is part of an international study.

Marlene Patrick underwent the treatment this week and looks forward to spending less time in radiation therapy because of it.

"The reason that six weeks is so tough is, especially for someone like Marlene is, she lives in Vivian. She'd have to drive here everyday, five days a week for a 20-minute treatment," Reiland said.

"It's amazing and I'll gladly, was willing to go through it if I can cut down for the other ladies, women that are coming up down the road," Reiland said.

Right now, the procedure decreases the amount of time a patient needs radiation by 50 percent. Reiland thinks it will be even less in the future.

"We think that someday we'll be giving a single dose of radiation in the operating room and not have to do any radiation afterwards," Reiland said.

Breast cancer patients need to be more than 40 years old to be eligible for this procedure. The type and size of the cancer are also factors.

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