MammoSite® Brachytherapy for Breast Cancer
MammoSite® brachytherapy is a form of internal radiation therapy that is used following a lumpectomy (the surgical removal of a tumor from the breast). It is used either alone or with external beam radiation therapy to kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery.
How is MammoSite brachytherapy done?
Images used in planning MammoSite treatment.
The white area is the inflated balloon; the yellow and blue circles show the spread of radiation during treatment.
Following surgical removal of your breast tumor:
- A radiation oncologist places a balloon catheter (a flexible plastic container attached to a thin plastic tube) into the empty space made when the tumor was removed.
- Fluid expands the balloon so it fills the space.
- The filled balloon stays in your body during the treatment course.
What can I expect during MammoSite brachytherapy?
You will receive treatment on an outpatient basis.
During your treatment session:
- A radiation oncologist attaches the balloon's tube to a machine called an afterloader.
- The afterloader inserts a "seed" (a tiny piece of radioactive material attached to a thin wire) into the balloon. The afterloader controls the amount of radiation it releases based on your radiation oncologist's treatment plan.
- After about 10 minutes of treatment, a radiation oncologist withdraws the seed.
After you complete your course of treatment (typically twice a day for five days), a radiation oncologist drains and removes the balloon so the cavity can heal.
What are the benefits of MammoSite brachytherapy?
MammoSite provides radiation directly to the tissue next to the removed cancer (the most likely place that new tumors would return), while traditional radiation treats the whole breast.
MammoSite treatment is also shorter than with traditional radiation therapy, which can last seven weeks.
Who provides MammoSite brachytherapy at UPMC CancerCenter?
Hillman Cancer Center
UPMC CancerCenter at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC
UPMC CancerCenter at UPMC Passavant