A MammoSite balloon catheter is used to direct the delivery of High Dose-Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy) to treat breast cancer after lumpectomy surgery. Because the radiation is delivered from within the breast cavity, you can receive a higher daily dose of radiation and complete your course of treatment very quickly, in five days versus five to seven weeks.
After the breast tumor is removed, a small, soft MammoSite balloon catheter is placed inside the lumpectomy cavity through a small incision in the breast. The balloon is “inflated” with a saltwater solution so that it fits snugly into the cavity. It remains inflated during the 5-day treatment. Your Northwest Cancer Clinic Treatment Team will then take images of the MammoSite balloon catheter in the breast and determine the amount of radiation needed.
During therapy, the portion of the MammoSite catheter that remains outside your breast is connected to a computer-controlled HDR machine. This machine delivers the radiation through tiny pellets inserted through the catheter, at multiple depths and for various lengths of time.
You will receive two treatments each day, six hours apart for five days. Once each treatment is complete, the pellets are removed through the MammoSite catheter and the catheter is unplugged from the machine. You are free to return to your normal daily activities. No hospital stay is required. No radiation remains inside your breast in between treatments. After your last treatment, your MammoSite balloon catheter will be gently removed through the same incision made to place it.