Frequently Asked Questions

I just found out I have breast cancer. Do I need a mastectomy?

There are alternative breast cancer treatments to mastectomy (total breast removal). Significant advances have been made in the detection and treatment of breast cancer, which makes "breast conserving therapy" possible. If you have an early-stage breast cancer (Stage 0, 1 or 2), you may be a candidate for Breast Conserving Therapy, which is defined as a lumpectomy (removal of the cancerous tissue and a small margin of normal, healthy tissue) followed by radiation therapy, which will destroy any cancer cells that may remain behind. The good news is that long-term studies have shown that for early-stage cancers, Breast Conserving Therapy has the same survival outcomes as mastectomy.7, 8

What is Breast Conserving Therapy?

Breast Conserving Therapy is the removal of the cancerous tissue and a small rim of normal breast tissue surrounding it (lumpectomy) followed by radiation therapy (whole breast or partial breast irradiation), which can kill any cancerous cells that may be left behind.

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Why do I need radiation therapy if the cancer has been removed?

After the cancerous tissue is removed, radiation therapy is used to kill any cancer cells that may remain after the lumpectomy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams of radiation focused on the breast where the cancer occurred. This energy disrupts the growth of the cells. Cancer cells are especially vulnerable to radiation, because unlike normal, healthy cells, cancer cells can’t repair themselves. 

To learn more about radiation therapy, click here.

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Is the 5-Day Radiation Therapy System effective?

The 5-Day Radiation Therapy System can be an effective treatment option for early-stage breast cancer patients.

5-year Initial Clinical Trial Results (N=43):6

  • No local recurrences
  • 83.3% of the patients had good/excellent cosmetic results
  • 100% of patients in the initial clinical trial would recommend 5-Day Radiation Therapy with the MammoSite system to a friend or family member.6
  • 100% of patients in the initial clinical trial would use 5-Day Radiation Therapy with the MammoSite system if they had to do it over.6

Many women who have been treated with 5-Day Targeted Radiation Therapy are part of our patient referral program and are happy to discuss their positive experiences via the Voices of MammoSite program.

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Does 5-Day Targeted Radiation Therapy hurt? What are the side effects?

Making decisions with your breast cancer treatment is not easy. Is it right for you now or will you continue to benefit in the long run?

Clinical studies conducted with 5-Day Radiation Therapy have shown to be very promising, well- tolerated, with mild short-term side effects. Most include redness, bruising, and mild breast pain—all very common side effects of breast surgery and/or radiation therapy and usually go away after a short period of time.5 

5-Day Radiation Therapy treatment with the MammoSite device or the Contura device is delivered using a balloon catheter to specifically target your radiation. The catheter is secured with gauze to the side of the breast so that you can go about your normal activities in between treatments. Many women feel little or no discomfort during insertion, treatment, or catheter removal. There can be some drainage that occurs from the catheter insertion site; this is normal and should go away after a short period of time. Be sure to speak to your doctor about any questions you may have. 

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Is 5-Day Targeted Radiation Therapy covered by insurance?

5-Day Radiation Therapy is covered by Medicare as well as a majority of private insurers. Check with your insurance company for details.

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Will my family be exposed to radiation during my treatment?

No. There is no radiation source in your body between treatments. During 10 treatments over 5 days, a tiny source of radiation, called a "seed" is placed in the balloon catheter and therapeutic radiation is delivered to the area surrounding the lumpectomy cavity. After each radiation treatment, the "seed" is removed. The balloon catheter itself has no radioactive material.26

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Will I lose my hair?

Hair loss is not typically associated with radiation therapy.

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How many women have been treated with 5-Day Targeted Radiation Therapy?

Over 90,000 women in the United States have been treated with 5-Day Radiation Therapy4.
Many women who have been treated with 5-Day Radiation Therapy are part of our patient referral program. To hear their stories, click here.

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Are women satisfied with 5-Day Targeted Radiation Therapy?

  • 100% of patients in the initial clinical trial would recommend 5-Day Radiation Therapy with the MammoSite system to a friend or family member.6
  • 100% of patients in the initial clinical trial would use 5-Day Radiation Therapy with the MammoSite system if they had to do it over.6

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How do I know if 5-Day Targeted Radiation Therapy is right for me?

Your doctors will carefully evaluate your cancer to determine if you are a candidate for 5-Day Radiation Therapy. The American Society of Breast Surgeons, American Brachytherapy Society, American Society for Radiation Oncology and the American College of Radiation Oncology recommend this treatment for early-stage breast cancers that are 3 cm (about the size of a walnut) or smaller, with limited or no spread of cancer to the lymph nodes 9,10,11,12. To see the full Society Guidelines on Patient Selection, click here.

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What if my doctor doesn’t recommend 5-Day Targeted Radiation Therapy?

If you have an early-stage breast cancer (Stage 0, 1 or 2), with limited or no lymph node involvement, you may be a candidate for 5-Day Radiation Therapy. Check with your doctor on how your cancer fits with the Society Guidelines on Patient Selection. To find a provider in your area, click here.

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