What is accelerated partial breast irradiation?

Traditionally, radiation therapy, following lumpectomy lasts for about 3-6 weeks. Under certain situations, however, patients may be eligible for shorter treatment durations. Treating simply the lumpectomy 'bed' rather than the entire breast, can be accomplished in 5 days or less.

Conventionally, radiation after a lumpectomy, is given over a 3-6 week period (16-33 treatments). Most of the ‘local recurrences’ of breast cancer, occur in and around the lumpectomy bed. So, the question was raised, are there circumstances, whereby only the lumpectomy bed be radiated? Indeed, that is was APBI (accelerated partial breast radiation) provides.

Accelerated Partial Breast Radiation

Allows radiation to be administered directly to the lumpectomy cavity, and, spares surrounding breast tissue.  The radiation is applied directly to the tissue at the surface of the lumpectomy cavity, as well as, a 1 cm depth of tissue.  Because of the sophisticated planning that APBI allows, vital structures, such as the skin and chest wall, can receive lower dosages.

Partial breast irradiation can typically be completed in 5 days; having 2 treatments per day (separated by about 6 hours).

APBI is very well tolerated, being associated with almost no side effects.

Long term local control results are similar to those achieved with whole breast radiation.