A little more than a generation ago, the standard treatment for women diagnosed with breast cancer was to undergo a mastectomy in which the entire breast was removed. Over the past few decades, technological advances in detection combined with new treatment approaches have significantly increased the choices available to women.
When diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, most women now have the option to save their breast by choosing a treatment called breast conservation therapy (BCT). BCT involves the removal of the tumor (lumpectomy), traditionally followed by 6-7 weeks of daily radiation treatments to the entire breast. After decades of research, physicians agree that breast conserving surgery combined with whole breast radiation treatment is as effective as mastectomy in decreasing the risk of local recurrence.
Unfortunately, several weeks of radiation treatments can significantly disrupt a woman's life. In fact, interference with family, the cost of missed work, and the difficulty of traveling to a medical facility every day for several weeks have been cited as reasons why nearly 20% of women who undergo a lumpectomy do not follow through with radiation therapy. Eliminating the radiation therapy portion of BCT however, can triple the risk of cancer recurrence.3
Clearly, completing radiation therapy after lumpectomy is a critical component of breast cancer treatment. The SAVI® applicator was developed so more women could choose BCT without causing a major disruption to their work and family life.