New breast cancer treatment
A new treatment for breast cancer patients undergoing surgery will cut the time needed for radiotherapy to a small fraction.
Called Intra-Operative Radiotherapy, the treatment is carried out during surgery, and it lasts an average of 30 minutes.
This contrasts with conventional treatment, which takes six weeks to complete, and is usually done six weeks to two months after the initial surgery.
The National Cancer Centre says the treatment, the first in Singapore, is used for patients with early breast cancer undergoing breast conserving surgery.
Since June this year, the centre has treated six patients using the new technique.
The Centre's Consultant in the Department of Surgical Oncology, Dr Ong Kong Wee, says the treatment is not for all patients but particularly good for those who's cancer is detected at an early stage.
He hopes with the new treatment, more patients will choose breast conservation surgery or lumpectomy over a mastectomy.
"It is a less invasive method. As you can imagine, a mastectomy involves the removal of the whole breast. Whereas in a lumpectomy, we are preserving about seventy percent of the breast tissue. Although lumpectomy is often coupled with external radiation, now that we have this new method, we can offer both surgery and radiotherapy at the same setting."
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