When women choose BCT (Breast Conservation Therapy) to save their breast after being diagnosed with breast cancer, three steps follow to ensure cancerous tissue is removed and does not return. First, the cancerous tissue is surgically removed, i.e., a lumpectomy. After the lumpectomy, the patient attends six weeks of radiation therapy to the entire breast. The last step is the most crucial: the “boost” dose.
The “boost” dose is radiation treatment aimed specifically at the tissue near the lumpectomy site. This tissue needs the extra dose because it is thought to contain “pre-cancerous” cells and is therefore most likely to develop reoccurrences. Unfortunately, the existing methods for targeting a localized dose of radiation are very limited. The main technique for targeting radiation is by aiming the boost dose at the surgical scar, which does not account for location, size, or shape of the lumpectomy site.
The need for a more accurate way of delivering the critical “boost” dose lead to the invention of AccuBoost. AccuBoost uses radiation delivery hardware located on x-ray paddles which hold the breast in place and allow for real-time image guidance (IGRT). IGRT gave rise to the motto “you see what you treat and you treat what you see”. In other words, doctors are able to see exactly where the radiation rays are focused while treatment is still in progress. Therefore, they can eliminate the need for estimation and can take corrective action quickly and accurately.
The imaging paddles are positioned differently in the next therapy session to deliver the radiation to the lumpectomy from a different angle. This accumulates in a highly concentrated and conformal dose to the intended location while providing less exposure to healthy tissue.