Dr. Harness explains if a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, does she have a choice in the type of radiation therapy treatment she receives. Dr. Jay Harness is the former President of the American Society of Breast Surgeons at St. Joseph Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center.
If you are having breast conservation - in layman’s terms, a lumpectomy - you almost certainly need radiation therapy. Historically, that has been radiation therapy of the entire breast, but more and more there are areas of partial breast radiation therapy in different ways of delivery in that therapy. The most classic right now is putting in a balloon catheter into the cavity that is left behind from the lumpectomy and completing the radiation therapy in five days instead of six weeks. I have been involved with that technology for a few years. We think in well selected low risk cases it is a good idea. Right now, there is a very large national trial called B-39 that is comparing whole breast radiation therapy with partial breast radiation therapy and also looking when the lymph nodes are positive versus, most of us have done this, when the lymph nodes are negative and so you want to inquire, you want to ask, "Am I a candidate for things less than necessarily having to have whole breast radiation therapy?" And, I always believe that it is important for patients to be involved in clinical trials, and patients should be asking about the B-39 clinical trial.
About Dr. Harness. M.D.:
Dr. Jay Harness is the Director at St. Joseph Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center. Practicing medicine for 35 years, Dr. Harness specializes in general surgery and medical oncology. Graduating medical school from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, he conducting his internship and residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Recognized nationally and internationally for his work in breast and endocrine surgery, Dr. Harness is the immediate past-President of The American Society of Breast Surgeons and is President-elect of Breast Surgery International. Dr. Harness can assist patients in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
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