Latest Treatments

Leading-Edge Treatment Options

Advocate Health Care offers the most advanced techniques and technology for the treatment of breast cancer. Learn about our state-of-the-art tools.

BioZorb

Advocate is one of only four health care providers in Illinois that offer BioZorb.

How it works: BioZorb is a small, completely resorbable device inserted into the breast during lumpectomies that guides radiation and has several benefits. It provides a scaffold so a breast doesn’t crumple after a lumpectomy, and incisions and changes in a breast are hardly visible with BioZorb. It also acts as a marker for imaging and future procedures.

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)

Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) delivers targeted radiation to a tumor site immediately after a lumpectomy.

How it works: IORT is used in an attempt to destroy any remaining cancer cells after surgery while sparing healthy breast tissue. IORT is carried out in a single session that lasts about 20 to 30 minutes. Its benefits include fewer skin and breast tissue reactions and reduced treatment durations if used as a supplement to whole breast radiation. IORT can be a good alternative to whole breast radiation for women diagnosed with earlier-stage breast cancer.

High-Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy

High-dose rate (HDR) is one of the latest advances in brachytherapy for the treatment of tumors confined to a small area using intense, localized doses of radiation. HDR applies a higher radiation dose directly to the tumor, while sparing good tissue and surrounding vital organs. The radiation dosage in different regions of the tumor site can be adjusted.

How it works: A high-intensity radiation source is passed through catheters that are temporarily placed in and near the tumor(s). A highly radioactive seed is then pushed into each of the catheters via computer activation. After a series of treatments, the catheters are removed, and there are no radioactive traces left in the body.

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is the latest leading-edge technology used to treat tumors.

How it works: IMRT delivers multiple beams of varying intensity to maximize radiation dosage to the tumor site, while minimizing radiation exposure to benign and healthy tissue.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive method used in the treatment of cancer that destroys cancer cells through exposure to varying levels of heat.

How it works: Imaging tools such as CT scanning are used to direct a probe to the cancer site. From this probe, non-insulated electrodes, which are shaped like prongs, are projected into the tumor. The prongs look like an umbrella with no cover material. The prongs allow your doctor to deliver radiofrequency energy to heat and “burn” the cancerous cells. The radiofrequency energy delivers a precise amount of heat to destroy cancerous cells with little risk to adjacent normal structures. The dead tumor tissue shrinks and slowly forms a scar.

Prone Breast Radiation

Prone breast radiation is a very unique radiation technique that may spare the lungs and heart while treating the breast. While radiation improves survival from breast cancer, it can increase the risk of death from heart disease and secondary lung cancer. Prone breast radiation excludes the lungs and heart from the treatment area when treating the breast.

How it works: Traditionally, radiation treatment for breast cancer has been delivered with patients lying on their back. When a patient is in this position, their lungs and heart get exposed to radiation, too. However, with the prone breast radiation technique, patients are positioned lying on their stomach and the affected breast is pulled away from the chest wall via gravity. Therefore, the radiation targets only the breast and does not expose normal tissue, such as the lungs and heart.

Learn more about the advanced diagnosis and treatment options at Advocate.