This year, UK Markey Cancer Center added another next-generation breast cancer treatment offering to its armamentarium, providing patients the flexibility of significantly reduced clinic visits, which, since the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic, have become even more important factors in cancer treatment planning.
The UK Department of Radiation Medicine is the first and only medical team in Kentucky to offer Concure Oncology Microseed radiation therapy for patients with early-stage breast cancer. Already widely used to successfully treat prostate cancer, these tiny, implantable seeds deliver a consistent dose of radiation across a two- to three-month period directly to the affected area.
This new and improved therapy option has been proven as effective as traditional whole-breast radiation in properly selected patients. This is especially important for cancer sites like the breast, where the treatment area is near vital organs, including the heart and lungs.
Microseed radiation also requires significantly fewer visits to the clinic for patients, compared with traditional breast cancer radiation therapy, which consists of daily in-person treatments over the course of three to six weeks.
“After undergoing lumpectomy, a patient visits the clinic for a planning CT scan, where we map out the specific area of the breast for Microseed radiation treatment, and then they come back a second time for the actual seed implantation,” explained Dr. Mark Bernard, assistant professor of Radiation Medicine at UK.
Bernard and Dr. Marcus Randall, professor and chair of the UK Department of Radiation Medicine are the state’s only radiation oncologists trained in breast Microseed treatment. They say patients appreciate having to come to the clinic only twice for the procedure. Not only does the treatment save patients time and travel costs, it also limits the need for in-person clinical visits , which is critically important during the COVID-19 pandemic. “While our society is slowly reopening, we know that many of our patients would prefer to stay at home as much as possible, and breast Microseed treatment allows for that,” Bernard said.