Galway, Ireland, January 19th 2006 - A West of Ireland woman has become the first breast cancer patient in the country and one of the first in Europe to undergo ‘partial breast irradiation’. University College Hospital in Galway carried out the successful breast conservation treatment using a computer-controlled GammaMed™ brachytherapy afterloader from Varian Medical Systems together with a balloon-guided intra-cavitary device called the MammoSite® Radiation Therapy System. Partial breast irradiation involves delivering radiation directly to the tissue immediately surrounding a surgically removed tumor, where cancer is most likely to recur, while minimising the radiation exposure to healthy tissue. Using this approach, a full course of treatment can be carried out in just five days.
Frank Sullivan, consultant radiation oncologist at the University College Hospital Galway, says, “Today, a lumpectomy followed by whole breast radiotherapy is considered the standard in care, but it’s well proven that when cancer returns it tends to return in or near the lumpectomy site in the overwhelming majority of patients. This prompts us to ask whether it is worth treating the whole breast in all patients and this is where partial breast irradiation comes in.
“Partial breast irradiation appears to give very good control within the breast in a select sub-group of patients with early stage disease. Also, whereas a standard course of whole breast radiotherapy can take up to seven weeks, partial breast irradiation can be completed in as little as a week.‿
Dr Sullivan and his team at University College Hospital Galway are using the Varian equipment and MammoSite device to deliver partial breast irradiation for appropriate patients. He said the new equipment will enable patients who need brachytherapy to remain in the Galway area rather than having to make the three- to four-hour journey to Dublin. In the past, some breast cancer patients have opted for a mastectomy rather than having to endure the round-trip to the capital.
In addition to breast cancer treatments, clinicians at the hospital plan to use the new brachytherapy equipment to offer treatments for gynaecological and prostate cancers. Delivered alone or in conjunction with external beam radiation therapy, brachytherapy provides patients with new treatment options and is gaining recognition as a viable and highly targeted cancer treatment approach.
Brachytherapy treatments involve the placement of radioactive sources inside the tumor using a High Dose Rate (HDR) afterloader such as the GammaMed device. The BrachyVision™ treatment planning system, which is also used at Galway, offers unprecedented conformal dose capabilities and state-of-the-art 3D image-based treatment planning.
MammoSite is a registered trademark of Cytyc Corporation of Marlborough, MA
University College Hospital Galway is part of the Health Service Executive, Western Area
Editorial contact: Neil Madle, Varian Medical Systems, +44 7786 526068
About Varian Medical Systems
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., (NYSE:VAR) of Palo Alto, California is the world's leading supplier of equipment and software for treating cancer. The company is also a premier supplier of components including X-ray tubes and flat-panel detectors for medical, scientific, and industrial imaging. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 3,280 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 55 sales and support offices around the world. The company operates manufacturing and engineering centres in Baden (Switzerland), Crawley (England), Haan (Germany), Helsinki (Finland) and Toulouse (France) and has headquarters for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) based in Zug, Switzerland. Additional information is available on the company's web site at www.varian.com.
About Cytyc: Cytyc Corporation is a leading women's health company that designs, develops, manufactures, and markets innovative and clinically effective products. Cytyc products cover a range of women's health applications, including cervical cancer screening, breast cancer risk assessment, treatment of excessive menstrual bleeding, and treatment of breast cancer. Cytyc is traded on The Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol CYTC. Cytyc and MammoSite are registered trademarks of Cytyc Corporation.
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