New breast cancer treatment option at Lutheran


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News release from Lutheran Hospital:

New breast cancer treatment option at Lutheran cuts weeks of radiation therapy down to one dose
Hospital joins the ranks of 14 major academic centers performing IORT

(February 25, 2016) – Physicians at Lutheran Hospital have embarked on a new treatment course for certain early-stage breast cancer patients that could reduce their number of treatments to one, a first for northern Indiana. The approach, intraoperative radiation therapy, combines a standard lumpectomy, or removal of a tumor, with the delivery of concentrated radiation to the cancerous area directly after surgery but before the site is closed.

The first three patients in northern Indiana to receive IORT had their procedures done at Lutheran Hospital yesterday.

“We anticipate intraoperative radiation therapy will be a game changer in how we treat breast cancer,” said Rachel Hayes, MD, breast oncology surgeon, Lutheran Medical Group. “This treatment is great because a woman can come in with cancer and leave with the vast majority of her treatment complete.”

With IORT, a single dose of radiation therapy is allocated to the targeted area, thus avoiding subsequent radiation treatments. This method ends the course of what has historically required three to six weeks of daily radiation treatment.

The physicians work in tandem; first Hayes performs the lumpectomy, then a radiation oncologist from Radiation Oncology Associates administers the IORT. A balloon is placed in the area where the tumor was just removed and radiation is given for an average of 10 minutes. Using a miniature X-ray source that can deliver localized and targeted radiation, exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue including the lungs and the heart is minimized to almost none.

“Our practice is pleased to collaborate with Dr. Hayes to bring intraoperative radiotherapy in the treatment of certain early stage breast cancer patients at Lutheran Hospital,” said R.V. Prasad Mantravadi, MD, Radiation Oncology Associates. “Intraoperative radiotherapy is delivering a single fraction of radiation dose to the breast tissue surrounding the lumpectomy cavity at the time of surgery.”

Lutheran Hospital joins the ranks of 14 major academic centers in the U.S. already utilizing IORT including University of California in San Francisco, Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida, Northwestern University Medical Center in Chicago, LA Center for Women’s Health in California, and others.

“The reason it works so well is because we know recurring cancer typically develops within a centimeter of the original location, and the targeted and concentrated dose can hone in on that area,” said Mantravadi.

As with many treatments, IORT will be available to women who fit initial screening criteria and who are approved by the medical team. Initially, most IORT candidates at Lutheran will be at least 55 years old and have nonaggressive cancers that have not spread to the lymph nodes.

“IORT is a significant advancement in oncology treatment and Lutheran Hospital is proud to provide this level of cancer care to our patients,” said Scott Weiskittel, COO, Lutheran Hospital. “Our goal is helping patients return home as soon and safely as possible. Intraoperative radiation therapy has the ability to help us do that.”

IORT was first used on July 2, 1998, at Middlesex Hospital, London. Since then, 33 centers in 11 European countries collaborated in a research study. Findings that were published in Lancet in 2013 comprised of data from 1720 patients and confirmed the value of IROT in selected early-stage breast cancer patients.

More than 400 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed last year in northeastern Indiana, per SEER, the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program of the National Cancer Institute.

According to Xoft, the makers of the IORT technology used a Lutheran, a hospital in Chicago and a hospital in Indianapolis are the closest locations to Fort Wayne that have performed IORT.

Lutheran Hospital will soon be enrolling candidates in a new research study for IORT that could increase its availability to a broader spectrum of patients. Learn more about IORT by calling the Lutheran Cancer Resource Center at (260) 435-7959. Additional details about the study and all enrolling trials may also be found at

Patients involved in the research study will be asked to return for follow-up appointments at one month, six months, one year, and then annually for five years.

Information regarding the specific equipment used in IORT at Lutheran can be found by visiting

For more information about the Lutheran Cancer Center, visit or call the Cancer Resource Center and ask to speak to a cancer navigator.


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