Breast Cancer Ireland has donated an INTRABeam system, at a cost of €480,000 to the Departments of Surgery and Radiation Oncology at Beaumont Hospital. This new technology, the first of its kind in Ireland, allows doctors to treat patients with a single 30 minute targeted dose of radiation during their breast cancer operation and to potentially avoid the current norm of five weeks of post-operative radiation. It also;
- Reduces radiation treatment time for certain breast cancer patients from five weeks to 30 minutes
- Delivers radiation treatment in a once-off dose during surgery when the patient is under anaesthesia
- Speeds up the patient’s recovery time and improves her quality of life
- Increases efficiencies in hospital time and resources
Traditionally, all patients who undergo a ‘lumpectomy’ (removal of the breast cancer whilst preserving the breast) go on to receive a further five weeks of radiation therapy to the remaining breast tissue. This normally takes about twenty minutes per day over twenty-five separate visits. This regimen has been shown to reduce recurrence rates and improve patient survival very successfully, however a trial published in the Lancet 2010* demonstrated that use of the INTRABeam device delivers equivalent results in selected patients. The new technique is particularly suited to patients with early stage, low-risk breast cancers. The ideal patient is a lady with a small tumour. Those with larger or more aggressive tumours are not considered suitable for this treatment at present.
Mr Colm Power, Surgeon, and Dr Orla McArdle, Radiation Oncologist, led the team of doctors, physicists, radiation therapists and nurses which introduced the technology to Ireland for the first time. Commenting on the INTRABeam System, leading breast cancer surgeon Mr Power says “For appropriate patients, this form of radiation therapy can have a huge impact on both the duration of breast cancer treatment and quality of life during what is invariably a difficult time. The outlook for patients with breast cancer has been improving year on year, primarily because of more effective targeted therapies aimed at specific types of breast cancer. The INTRABeam System is an example of how tailored treatment can revolutionise cancer care for certain patients. This innovative approach could radically change treatment for carefully selected patients at Beaumont Hospital.”
Professor Arnie Hill, surgeon, team member and Chairman of Breast Cancer Ireland, added “The donation of this cutting edge technology to Beaumont Hospital is a welcome addition to our treatment options for breast cancer. More importantly, for certain breast cancer patients, it is of enormous physical and psychological benefit and that’s what counts – the patient at the end of the day”.
Speaking about the INTRABeam donation, CEO of Breast Cancer Ireland, Aisling Hurley says “Breast Cancer Ireland is delighted to have been in a position to donate this state-of-the-art medical device to Beaumont Hospital. In other units around the globe INTRABeam has had a positive impact on patient treatment and recovery and we are thrilled to facilitate its introduction to Ireland and to Irish patients. This has been made possible largely due to the generosity of the public in assisting our fundraising efforts nationally. We would like to acknowledge and thank those whose support allows us to fund these new technologies in addition to our ongoing laboratory research efforts and specialist breast cancer nurses around the country.”