A Brief Introduction to Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation

Dr. Laurie Cuttino, an associate professor in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Radiation Oncology, has several years of radiology experience. The author of numerous book chapters and papers for peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Laurie Cuttino is one of the nation’s experts in accelerated partial breast irradiation.

Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) is a type of therapy for breast cancer that delivers a localized dose of radiation to a specific region surrounding the tumor. The procedure involves the insertion of a radioactive seed to the tumor site through a catheter. A high dose of radiation is then delivered twice a day for approximately one week. Treatments typically last around 10 minutes, with the seed being withdrawn upon completion of each treatment.

APBI is best for women who are at least 50 years old, and who have small tumors localized in the breast. They must also have clear margins and no lymph node involvement. The procedure confines radiation to the tumor cavity, which prevents it from affecting the rest of the body. It also improves patients’ quality of life and chances of breast preservation. APBI does have some side effects, including fatigue, scar tissue, radiation-related pain, and skin changes.

Cancer Treatments: Brachytherapy

A radiation oncologist and expert in brachytherapy, Dr. Laurie Cuttino treats patients with cancer through Henrico Doctor’s Hospital of Richmond, Virginia. Brachytherapy works by placing radioactive material strategically in the body to shrink or eliminate cancerous tumors. When professionals like Dr. Laurie Cuttino carry out the procedure, they may rely on CT scanners or other imaging technologies to ensure that the material is inserted in the proper location.

Brachytherapy comes in several different types, including high-dose and low-dose options. The former is usually administered as an outpatient procedure and involves inserting radioactive materials into a patient for time periods of up to 20 minutes. The low-dose option takes longer to administer, because patients receive small amounts of radiation over hours and days; low-dose brachytherapy patients stay at the hospital over the course of their treatment.

Some patients may benefit from a third option, permanent brachytherapy, which entails permanently implanting material that emits low-dose radiation into the body. The amount of radiation given off by the material decreases over time.