Services & Technology
Partial Breast Irradiation (PBI)
This is a treatment for certain breast cancer patients who have chosen to have breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) followed by radiation. The traditional standard of care has been radiation therapy of the entire breast, over a period of 5-6 weeks. This involves some risk of side effects, as well as a large time commitment for the patient. However, for some patients, treatment may be equally effective if 3D conformal methods are used to treat only the area of the breast where the cancer was removed over a period of one week.
Boston Medical Center is presently collaborating with the Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) (http://www.nsabp.pitt.edu/) on a clinical trial of PBI. For patients who meet the eligibility requirements for the study, only the site of the original tumor is treated and most of the breast is spared. Treatment takes place twice a day, and is completed in just five days. Other trials are in progress at other centers. PBI is not yet the standard care for breast cancer, but may become so in the future if the clinical trials yield favorable results.