Key Benefits of APBI for Postsurgical Breast Treatment
At Astera, we treat some women with early stage breast cancer using Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) to deliver focused radiation to the area of the lumpectomy.
Using a catheter, our radiation oncologists apply small radioactive sources, or “seeds”, directly to the lumpectomy area – a treatment method known as brachytherapy. This entails twice-daily treatments for 1 week.
We also have the capability to perform APBI without a catheter using external beam radiation with photon or proton therapy.
How APBI works at Astera
With the catheter method, we perform APBI about 1–4 weeks following lumpectomy surgery. During surgery, we insert a specialized catheter for delivery of APBI treatment later.
Your radiation oncologist then carefully plans your treatment using computer-guided imaging.
During treatment, we connect the catheter to a machine called a “remote afterloader”, which delivers the radioactive seed into your tissue. For 5–10 minutes, the seed delivers radiation to the target. We then remove the seed and disconnect the catheter, enabling you to go about your normal routine.
With APBI, the catheter is not radioactive, and you’ll have no restrictions with regard to being around other people.
During the course of your APBI radiation treatments, the catheter remains in place, and the treatment process is repeated twice daily, about 6 hours apart, for 10 total treatments. After your last treatment, we remove the catheter, and you go back to living your life.
Effective Treatment. Easier On You.
Compared to standard radiation treatment, APBI can offer significant benefits. For one, it’s shorter:
APBI Treatment = 1 Week
External Beam Radiation = 4–6 Weeks
The high-dose of radiation we deliver for short durations effectively attacks the cancer tissue while sparing normal tissue and critical organs, such as the heart and lungs, from unnecessary radiation exposure.