Targeting Breast Cancer
Reported January 2010
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Next to skin cancer, breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States. Patients often face chemotherapy, surgery and radiation to beat the disease -- all with potential side effects. Now a new cancer targeting therapy with fewer ill effects and better accuracy.
You need Flash Player 8 or higher to view video content with the ROO Flash Player.
Click here to download and install it.
Karen Mathis is one of the 240,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the U.S.
"When I was first diagnosed, I didn't know anything about breast cancer, and I just thought it's a death sentence," Mathis told Ivanhoe.
To beat the disease, Mathis had surgery to remove the tumor, followed by radiation treatment. But removing a tumor leaves a hole, or a cavity, inside the body, that can move and change size during treatment.
"That cavity is often times the area that we need to focus on with radiation to ensure that they have not left behind any cancer," Joseph Imperato, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Lake Forest Hospital in Lake Forest, Ill., explained.
Now, radiation oncologists are using a new tool called the clarity breast system, to more accurately see the location and size of the area to be treated, delivering radiation only where it's needed most.
"I can treat a smaller area," Dr. Imperato said. "That means I can spare more healthy tissue."
The patient lies on her back. The doctor moves a probe that is attached to a monitor across the area to be treated. This image is then aligned with an earlier CT scan of the patient. A computer makes tiny adjustments based on how the patient is positioned, to aim the radiation more accurately.
"Anytime you can improve the accuracy of the radiation treatments, you are more likely to increase the cure rate and decrease the risk of complications," Dr. Imperato explained.
The new tool exposes patients to less radiation, which means fewer side effects. Mathis completed her treatment and is enjoying her cancer-free life.
"I feel great," Mathis said. "I feel fine, and I've just moved on."
The clarity system is also used to treat prostate cancer in men.
The American Association of Physicists in Medicine and the Optical Society of America contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
Dr. Sudarshan Chamakuri
American Association of Physicists in Medicine
Optical Society of America
Washington, DC 20036-1023
Smarter, Safer Cars
This Month's TV Reports
There are six million car accidents each year, but researchers are trying to change that by building a car that adapts to your driving habits.
Future of Living Solar
They are high-tech and solar powered! Solar homes are not what they used to be. We’ll show you the latest and greatest designs.
Life on Mars
Two new discoveries on the Red Planet have scientists asking …is there life on Mars? What does lightening and water have to do with the answer?
Detecting Toxins in the Sea
A tea bag could save thousands of sea life from death and save you from getting sick. We’ll show you how.
Medical First! Windpipe Transplant
Meet the first person in the world to have a windpipe transplant. Her own stem cells saved her life
Targeting Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women. Now a new cancer therapy is targeting tumors with fewer side effects.
Giving Parkinson’s Patients a Voice
Parkinson’s disease affects 1.5 million people in the United States. Ninety percent of those people have a hard time talking. A new technology is helping them speak up and be heard.
Diagnosing Heart Attacks before they Strike
It’s a new high tech medical device that can diagnose a heart attack before you, or even the doctor, knows its happening.
First New Treatment for Lupus in 50 Years
No more pain … less fatigue! A new drug for Lupus could be the best treatment for the disease in nearly 50 years.
Tracking the Flu
When the flu hits, your next move could impact millions! A new research tool can predict how fast and how far the virus will spread.
Cleaning up Hospitals
Two million hospital-acquired infections happen each year. The number of infections could be cut in half with better hand washing by medical staff. We’ll show you a new device that makes sure everyone has germ-free hands.
Testing Chili Peppers
How hot is too hot? Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew before biting into your next pepper? Science may hold the answer to saving you from a burning mouth.