InterCommunity Cancer Centers, Leesburg, FL - Lake Woman First in County to Select New SAVI Breast Cancer Treatment
August 15, 2008 Leesburg, FL– Kathy McMurray wasn’t sure at first that she wanted to publicly tell her story. Fighting breast cancer, especially when you have a young child, is frightening enough, without sharing your private struggle with total strangers. But after giving it some thought, Kathy decided to do just that – share her story about why she selected a revolutionary new treatment for her breast cancer called SAVI.
“I decided that if my story helps just one other woman facing the overwhelming situation I found myself in, then it would be worth it for me to speak out, “ Kathy says.
“InterCommunity Cancer Centers is among the first in the U.S. to offer SAVI. After they educated me about it, I knew it was the treatment for me because it was a one-week treatment versus the 6-7 week option. I was concerned about the impact of the longer radiation option on my five-year old son, and was also hoping to quickly finish my teacher certification,“ says Kathy. “My surgeon and ICCC worked very well together. I knew a found a team that was totally committed to giving me the best care possible. I was even able to take my teacher certification exam the day after I completed treatment. I’m so glad that SAVI was available to me. And I would still like to stress the importance of early detection through yearly mammograms and self exams.“
SAVI is a landmark form of radiation delivery that is part of breast-conservation therapy for women with early-stage breast cancer. Breast-conservation therapy includes lumpectomy – the surgical removal of the cancerous tissue within the breast plus tissue immediately around the tumor – followed by radiation. This approach is an alternative to mastectomy, which removes the entire breast and is often followed by breast reconstruction.
The new SAVI applicator delivers a form of radiation therapy known as breast brachytherapy. This approach, which targets the tumor site from inside the breast, is becoming a more widely used alternative to traditional whole breast radiation.
Breast brachytherapy typically involves two treatments per day for only five days. In addition to shortening the treatment time, breast brachytherapy with SAVI minimizes radiation exposure of healthy tissue, which reduces damage to critical structures such as the skin, heart, lungs and ribs. SAVI is the only device that contours the radiation dose specifically to the patient’s individual anatomy.
“The design of the SAVI device allows us to deliver radiation through individual catheters,” says Dr. Hal Jacobson, Medical Director for InterCommunity Cancer Centers. “This enables the physician to tailor the radiation dose so it’s tightly focused on the target area." The SAVI procedure offered at ICCC is designed to make the benefits of breast-conservation therapy and brachytherapy available to more women.
The multi-catheter SAVI applicator treats the tissue surrounding the lumpectomy cavity from the inside out. The device is inserted into the lumpectomy cavity through a small incision. The physician then gently expands the bundle of catheters so the radiation dose will conform to the size and shape of the area to be treated.
“This technology overcomes the limitations of older brachytherapy devices. SAVI makes it possible for us to provide more women with the advantages of breast brachytherapy,” says Dr. Jason Boardman, the surgeon who performed Kathy McMurray’s procedure.
ICCC and Dr. Boardman are among the first in the U.S. to offer SAVI. The SAVI technology was developed by Cianna Medical, Inc., (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) a women's health company dedicated to the early treatment of breast cancer.
For more information on radiation therapy services or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hal Jacobson or Dr. Herman Flink, please call InterCommunity Cancer Centers at Leesburg, Lady Lake and Clermont at (352) 326-2224 or log on to www.iccancer.com