Intraoperative Radiotherapy (IORT) Offered First at Mercy in Baltimore


IORT, or Intraoperative Radiotherapy, is a new single dose radiation treatment and is a clinically validated option for select breast cancer.

As the first hospital in Maryland to introduce Intraoperative Radiotherapy (IORT), Mercy Medical Center and The Hoffberger Breast Center provide women with an option to shorten radiation therapy treatments following a lumpectomy. Some breast cancer patients may be candidates for Intraoperative Radiotherapy (IORT). This radiation therapy is more convenient for the patient since it is given as a single dose and eliminates the need for patients to return for additional radiation treatments. At this time, IORT treatment is only available to those participating in the TARGIT-US registry trial. For more information on this trial, please contact The Breast Center.

What is IORT?

IORT, or Intraoperative Radiotherapy, is a single dose radiation treatment option for some breast cancers. IORT takes the place of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and is delivered at the time of a lumpectomy in the operating room.

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What are the benefits of IORT?

Intraoperative radiotherapy saves time and is much more convenient for patients. Patients would typically follow a lumpectomy with daily treatments of whole-breast radiation for up to 6 weeks. Intraoperative Radiotherapy delivers a targeted dose of radiation at the time of surgery and eliminates the need to return to the hospital for radiation therapy. IORT can potentially reduce side effects of radiation as it dramatically decreases the number of doses given to the patient and also delivers radiation in a more targeted and precise fashion.

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Who should receive IORT?

Appropriately selected women over the age of 45, with negative lymph nodes and smaller tumors not yet reaching the lymph nodes, are better candidates for IORT treatment. Radiation oncologists provide IORT treatment at the time of the first surgery only. IORT is an alternative to standard breast radiation therapy, for many breast cancer patients, commonly given in larger doses over approximately six weeks.

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How is IORT performed?

At the time of the lumpectomy, using the INTRABEAM® Radiotherapy System our radiation oncologists deliver a one-time dose of radiation treatment to prevent a local recurrence of cancer in the immediate vicinity of the removed tumor. Treatment takes approximately 25 to 35 minutes. The goal is to kill any microscopic cancer cells that are in the area where the tumor had existed.

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