MammoSite: An Internal Radiation Device for Breast Cancer Treatment
Most early stage
Traditional Radiation Therapy
Most women who are treated with breast conserving surgery are also treated with
Internal Radiation Therapy
An alternative to traditional radiation therapy is internal radiation therapy, also called
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a minimally invasive method of delivering internal radiation therapy following a lumpectomy. The device, called MammoSite, provides yet another alternative to traditional radiation therapy for women who have had a cancerous lump removed from their breast by lumpectomy.
The MammoSite radiation therapy system (RTS) is a single, small balloon catheter that fits inside the cavity left behind by the removal of the cancerous tumor. Then, a tiny, radioactive seed, which is connected to a machine called a high dose rate remote-afterloading device, is inserted into the balloon. It is this seed that delivers the radiation therapy, effectively focusing the highest levels of radiation directly on the area of the breast at the highest risk for cancer recurrence.
When used alone, treatment with MammoSite is usually administered twice a day for five days, greatly reducing the usual time required for radiation therapy.
Approved, but Still Experimental
The FDA found the MammoSite device to be equally as effective as other forms of brachytherapy currently being used to treat breast cancer. However, brachytherapy itself has not been found to be as effective as whole breast external radiation in preventing cancer recurrence. Therefore, brachytherapy of any kind for the treatment of breast cancer is still considered an experimental procedure. According to one expert, brachytherapy may offer real benefit to women who must be treated with radiation therapy following a lumpectomy. However, it will take time to see how it stacks up against whole breast radiation therapy as a means of preventing cancer recurrence on a long-term basis.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, speak with your radiation oncologist to see whether you are a candidate for lumpectomy and whether brachytherapy may be an appropriate treatment choice for you.
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
Canadian Cancer Society
FDA clears new device for breast cancer treatment. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/. Accessed April 25, 2003.
The MammoSite radiation therapy system (RTS). Proxima Therapeutics website. Available at: http://www.proximatherapeutics.com/. Accessed April 25, 2003.
MammoSite. MammoSite: targeted radiation therapy website. Available at: http://www.mammosite.com/index.cfm. Accessed March 29, 2010.
Treatment of stage 1 and 2 breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation website. Available at: http://www.komen.org/bci/abc/chap_07b.asp. Accessed April 18, 2003.
Last reviewed March 2010 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.