The current standard of care for radiation as part of breast conservation therapy is whole breast radiation, which uses an external beam to deliver radiation to the entire breast and requires 6-7 weeks of daily treatments. However, women may experience side effects as a result of excessive radiation exposure to healthy tissue, as well as the skin, ribs, heart and lungs. In addition, this extended treatment schedule can significantly disrupt a woman’s life, whether it’s interference with family, the cost of missed work, or the difficulty of traveling to a medical facility every day for several weeks.
Partial breast radiation (also known as APBI, or accelerated partial breast irradiation) was developed to address these issues. The SAVI® applicator is a form of APBI known as breast brachytherapy, which delivers radiation from inside the breast. This allows physicians to precisely deliver treatment to the tumor cavity and surrounding tissue.
Partial breast radiation results in two significant advantages over whole breast radiation: it spares healthy tissue from unnecessary radiation and reduces treatment time from several weeks to just 5 days. Initial research indicates APBI can be as effective as whole breast radiation in terms of survival and controlling local recurrences.5