November 20, 2014
Radiation Therapy is a necessary evil for many breast cancer patients. It uses high energy radiation to kill cancer cells by damaging the cell’s DNA. It can be used as an adjunctive treatment to chemotherapy and assists in minimizing the size of tumors to facilitate surgery.
The side effects of Radiation Therapy are often just as hard to deal with as the cancer itself. It is hard to contain the radiation to a specific area – which results to the destruction of both cancer and healthy cells. Common side effects include skin discoloration, anorexia, fatigue and nausea. If the cancer is located near a vital organ, it is highly likely that radiation will incur damage as well.
In an effort to reduce the side effects of radiation therapy, a new device called BioZorb has been developed. Recently, a woman from Albuquerque has been given the opportunity to try out BioZorb after she had a lump removed from her breasts. The device was implanted directly where the tumor has been removed. It serves as an easy target that for treatment and lessens the radiation absorbed by nearby structures. Biozorb also helps heal and support the skin, making reconstruction a lot easier.
“It helps to create a target the radiation doctors can target and hit no matter what,” says Dr. Linda Smith, the breast surgeon who implanted the device. “The radiation damage goes on for 10 years, it’s not anything we can undo and if we can avoid giving that high dose radiation to normal tissue, the patient is going to do better. There’ll be less pain, less scaring, cosmetic outcome should be much better than what we’ve ever had before.”
BioZorb is good for both aesthetic and physiologic reasons. We hope more patients will have access to technology soon!