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Innovative Breast Cancer Treatment Performed in Paris

Publication: The Paris News, Paris

By: Eva Dickey

When “something suspicious” came back on her mammogram, she could feel fear from the tip of her toes. Glenda Martin had a family history of cancer, particularly breast cancer, and she was familiar with the possible battle ahead. Little did she know, she would be the first to receive a breakthrough treatment in her hometown.

On May 21, 2013, just a few days after her annual mammogram, a biopsy was done and cancer was confirmed in her left breast. She underwent surgery in Dallas on June 10, and all the cancer was removed. Glenda chose a lumpectomy, which only removes the breast lump and some of the surrounding tissue rather than the whole breast, according to radiation oncologist Dr. James Petrikas.

“A lumpectomy seemed like the better option,” Martin said. “My breast is only half as big as it was, but it’s still there. However, I was anxious about the radiation that follows.”

Martin said she feared radiation. She has seen her aunt, niece and sister go through it and she knew it was no walk in the park, but her options were limited so she held her head up and went to yet another appointment to discuss her options.

One of the options was an innovative form of radiation, a strut adjusted volume implant, or SAVI. In the treatment, radiation is done from the inside. A device is surgically inserted in the breast and six weeks of treatment turns in to five days.

“I won’t lie when I first saw what they were going to put in my breast, I was shocked,” Martin said. “But it wasn’t bad at all. Treatments were only six minutes long twice a day. I expected a horrifying experience but it was just simple.”

“When they told me I had cancer, I feared the worst, but it was nothing like I thought it was going to be,” said Martin. Dr. [Lynn] Canavan [of Texas Breast Specialists–McKinney; Texas Breast Specialists is part of Texas Oncology] told me 15 years ago, I would have lost my breast, but I didn’t and my battle has been easy compared to most.”

SAVI-type treatment has been in the works for 10-15 years, Dr. Petrikas said. It began as a small, single channel spherical balloon, and over time it has evolved to no longer include the balloon and uses multiple radiation channels, Petrikas said.

“Now the SAVI device has no real balloon,” Petrikas said. “From a radiation perspective that is advantageous; you can minimize treatment time and side effects by maximizing radiation dose to the lumpectomy cavity, and minimizing radiation where it is not needed. In early stage patients that are properly chosen, this is an ideal treatment.”

The SAVI treatment has been offered in the Dallas area for some time, and the staff at Texas Oncology–Paris hope it becomes commonly used here.

“If someone wanted this before, they would have to drive 100 plus miles. We’re excited that it’s now offered in Paris, and patients from the Paris area only have to drive for five days vs. six weeks.”

Martin is doing well. She is undergoing chemotherapy and very optimistic. She is still working out of her home and enjoying her life, she said.

“I am tired for a week or so, but then I’m normal,” she said. “My breast looks normal, smaller than the other, but normal. I have a couple of small scars but most importantly, I have my life. I tell anyone who will listen and tell the cancer center to give my number to anyone with questions about the procedure. The SAVI device has been out two weeks and I don’t even have a band-aid. I am just blown away by it all. It’s amazing.”
This story originally appeared on TheParisNews.com. To view this story, please click here.

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