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Georgetown University Hospital


Northwest DC 202-444-2000 3800 Reservoir Rd NW Washington, DC 20007 Directions →

One and Done

At MedStar Georgetown University Hospital a new treatment is cutting radiation therapy for breast-cancer patients from six weeks to one hospital visit.

Used during surgery after a tumor is removed, the procedure, called Intrabeam intraoperative radiation therapy, delivers a targeted dose of radiation directly to a tumor bed for about 20 minutes. The surgeon then closes the incision, and the patient can go home the same day. "This minimally invasive technique involves less treatment," says Eleni Tousimis, chief of breast surgery at Georgetown, "which means fewer side effects with the same outcome."

In January, Georgetown and Washington Hospital Center became the region's first two hospitals to offer the FDA-approved treatment, used in nearly 200 medical centers around the world. Tousimis says it causes few to no skin reactions, limits exposure to surrounding healthy breast tissue and organs, and is less tiring for patients than traditional radiation therapy.

At this time, patients have to meet a long list of qualifications: They must be 50 or older; their tumor must be smaller than two centimeters, have clear margins, and be lymph-node-negative; and it must test positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors. Tousimis hopes that as the use of Intrabeam therapy increases--it's already been approved to treat brain, colorectal, and stomach cancers--the criteria for patients who qualify will widen.

Read all of the 'Saving Lives with Science' pieces about our 2013-2014 Top Hospitals.

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Posted at 4:00 PM/ET, 10/02/2014
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