Mammosite Brachytherapy for Breast Cancer

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The Swedish Cancer Institute was the first in the region to offer this treatment for breast cancer, used after a lumpectomy. A balloon-tipped catheter is inserted where the tumor was removed.  A radioactive "seed" is then placed in the inflated balloon to target the area of the breast where tumors will most likely recur. It delivers radiation internally to the tissue surrounding the original tumor. This maximizes the dose delivered to the area most at risk of breast-cancer recurrence. At the same time, it minimizes radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.

The benefit of balloon-catheter brachytherapy is the reduced treatment time required — typically five days instead of six or seven weeks. Partial-breast radiation therapy can also be delivered without putting a balloon catheter in the breast, using an external technique called Confirma. This has similar advantages of a shorter course of treatment and treatment to a smaller area of the breast. It has the added advantage of not requiring placement of a catheter into the breast.