By Peter O'Dowd
Casper, WY – Breast cancer patients have a new option for radiation therapy that was previously unavailable in Wyoming.
The Rocky Mountain Oncology Center's Dr. John Purviance says partial breast irradiation treatment has been available in the U.S. for about seven years, but the technology only recently came to the hospital in Casper. Dr. Purviance says the treatment focuses on a very specific part of the breast instead of blanketing the entire area with radiation: "Traditional therapy with an external beam takes about six weeks to do -- and that's daily treatment Monday through Friday. This cuts it down to one week in time. By treating a smaller area, we are able to accelerate the amount of radiation."
Dr. Purviance says people who live in rural places often choose mastectomies instead of traditional radiation because the lengthy treatments keep them away from home for too long. Doctors hope this procedure will give patients another option. Five people have been treated in Wyoming so far.