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Breast cancer treatment eliminates weeks of radiation therapy

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DENVER -- Patients going through breast cancer treatment usually brace for long weeks of radiation therapy. It's the final stage in making sure cancer cells are killed, after removing a lump.

Now surgeons at Littleton Adventist Hospital are using something called intra-operative radiation therapy (IORT) to get all of that done at once.

Radiation is delivered to the lumpectomy site immediately after the cancerous mass is removed, eliminating the need for the patient to travel back to the hospital for weekly radiation treatments.

Dr. Darlene Bugosi says, “It adds about 20 minutes to the surgical procedure while the patient is still under anesthesia and basically when you wake up you're complete.”

Patient Pat Carey says her experience with IORT was much improved over the traditional treatment she’s had in the past.  Carey says, “I thought this was about the easiest surgery I’ve had.”

The IORT procedure isn't effective in women past stage one breast cancer making early detection more important than ever.

Women need to conduct self-breast exams each month and get yearly mammograms after age 50 (earlier if you have a history of breast cancer in your family).

For more information on IORT you can visit http://www.mylittletonhospital.org/intraoperative-radiation-therapy.

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