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New treatments for breast cancer

Two doctors looking at a mammogramVCU Massey Cancer Center became the fifth site in the world and the first in Mid-Atlantic region to offer AccuBoost, a new image-guided treatment for breast cancer that uses digital mammography for localization and surface applications for the delivery of radiation.

Based on real-time images obtained, the AccuBoost system is able to position the applicator that delivers the therapeutic dose accurately and reliably to irradiate the part of the breast that has been designated to receive the additional dose. The AccuBoost design gives radiation oncologists the extra confidence for the adage that “you see what you treat and you treat what you see.”

The AccuBoost system is capable of recording the therapeutic dose. This feature can be used to adjust and fine-tune the radiation field throughout the procedure and archive the information for future reference.

AccuBoost: Easy as getting a mammogram

The AccuBoost treatment is as easy for the patient as getting a mammogram, according to Doug Arthur, M.D., Massey’s chair of radiation oncology, who also helped to develop the technology with the manufacturer. “We typically give patients a ‘boost’ of radiation to the surgical site following whole-breast radiation treatment,” explains Dr. Arthur. “AccuBoost is an image-guided method to improve dose delivery which confirms that each boost dose is successful; the other big plus is that it’s noninvasive. It’s a great complement to a wide array of treatments we offer our patients.” Learn more about AccuBoost.

The Contura Multilumen Balloon for breast radiotherapy

Drs. Arthur and Dorin Todor were part of group involved in clinical development and dosimetric verification of a new applicator for brachytherapy procedures. Brachytherapy involves placing the radioactive source inside or next to the area of the breast involved in treatment.

The new Contura applicator has five catheters inside the balloon which allows for dose shaping during High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy treatment planning. Some patients who previously would not be good candidates for partial breast irradiation are now candidates with the advent of Contura.

Lumpectomy cavities that are close to the skin surface or to the chest wall or ribs can be treated using the catheters, which covers the target volume while providing sparing of dose-limiting structures. If skin sparing is required, the catheter furthest from the skin can be used for planning, which produces an offset in the dose distribution.

Another Contura feature is a suction portal which removes fluid and air around the balloon, which helps the target area to conform to the balloon for a more homogeneous distribution.