IORT (Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy) Denver

IORT (intra-operative radiation therapy) is a cancer treatment that applies radiation directly to a small region of the body for a short time. This makes it different from radiation therapies that subject a more substantial region of the body to radiation for a more extended period.

This treatment involves administering radiation at the time of surgery. It reduces the likelihood of cancer recurring for breast cancer patients undergoing a lumpectomy.

What Happens During IORT?

IORT delivers a single radiation boost to the breast area, specifically to the region from which the tumor has been removed. The radiation is typically administered when the patient is still under general anesthesia.

Upon removal of the tumor, a round applicator is installed in the cavity of the existing tumor, and the adjacent breast tissue is treated with low-energy X-rays. The purpose is to eliminate any cancer cells that still linger and to prevent exposure to radiation for the remaining organs and breast tissue. Because of this, debilitating side effects can be avoided.

When Can a Breast Cancer Patient Receive Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy?

Early-stage breast cancer patients over age 40 with a tumor of less than 3.0 cm and no spread of cancer to the lymph nodes or other areas of the body can receive intra-operative radiation therapy.

Benefits of Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer Patients

By undergoing the therapy along with surgical lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy, patients can avoid radiation center trips that could span over a period of four to six weeks post-surgery. The therapy ensures that there’s no delay between the time of surgery and radiation received and is quick, completed within ten to twenty minutes.

It provides a more concentrated radiation dose directly to the tumor region and reduces the exposure of healthy breast tissue to radiation. It also protects surrounding area tissues from damage due to radiation exposure. 

Since radiation is provided as soon as the tumor is removed, it destroys microscopic tumor cells that could otherwise result in disease/recurrence. The tumor area can’t be missed, since the intra-operative radiation therapy is performed while conducting the surgery with visibility of the tumor region.

These treatments are usually less expensive than certain other treatment options.

After This Procedure

Intra-operative radiation therapy does not interfere in the performance of daily activities of patients, who can quickly resume work or other activities after the operation.

Redness of the skin, bruising, and irritation are common side effects that some patients may experience post-therapy, but these are usually minor and temporary, improving soon after completion of the treatment.

Set Up Your IORT Consultation

If you feel that IORT (intra-operative radiation therapy) may be right for you, contact Western Surgical Care and arrange your consultation. At Western Surgical Care, we make the health and wellbeing of our patients our top priority. Set up your appointment today to learn more.