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Aurora BayCare 1st Wisconsin hospital to use advanced breast cancer treatment

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More patients can choose lumpectomy, radiation option

A Brown County woman treated last week at Aurora BayCare Medical Center became the 1st in the state to receive a new breast cancer treatment that conserves the breast while limiting damage to nearby healthy tissue.

The technology, known as SAVITM, is a radiation applicator that is able to target designated areas with its expandable bundle of catheters. It carries the same benefits of other partial breast irradiation approaches that are known for reducing treatments to just one week, but also can fit into different cavity shapes, sizes and locations.

"There are many breast cancer patients who couldn't even choose to have a lumpectomy followed by a partial radiation treatment option, because of the location of their tumor," said breast surgeon Colette Salm-Schmid, MD, of Aurora BayCare. "If the tumor wasn't the right shape, if it was located too close to the outer skin or breast size wasn't exact, patients couldn't choose this radiation option. Many patients had to opt to get their entire breast removed or to irradiate the entire breast. Now, more breast cancer patients can choose the lumpectomy and partial radiation option instead of a mastectomy or irradiation of the entire breast."

This isn't the first time Aurora BayCare has led the fight against breast cancer. In hiring Dr. Salm-Schmid in 2002, Aurora BayCare brought northeastern Wisconsin its first fellowship-trained breast surgeon to the area. Then in 2003, it was the first hospital in the region to offer MammoSite to breast cancer patients. While evolutionary at the time, MammoSite has some limitations that are now handled by SAVI.

"MammoSite is a good option for breast cancer patients that fit the criteria, including tumor cavity shape, location and size," said Robert Kohl, DO, a radiation oncologist at Aurora BayCare, noting that the hospital will continue to offer MammoSite to appropriate patients.

"There are 2 features of SAVI that make this technology so exciting for breast cancer patients," said David Rohde, MD, a radiation oncologist at the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic at Aurora BayCare. "The applicator can fit into a wide variety of tumor cavity sizes and shapes. Also, the location of the cavity isn't as big of a factor as it was in the past. The applicator allows radiation oncologists to pick and choose areas to send specific doses of radiation. So, if the cavity is really close to the outer skin of the breast, the oncologist can turn that portion of the application down or off."

SAVI is a minimally invasive, internal applicator that can deliver a precisely targeted dose of radiation to designated areas of the breast. The applicator includes an expandable bundle of catheters that surround a central lumen. The surgeon places the applicator into the lumpectomy cavity through a small incision. Then, by turning a mechanism from outside the breast, the catheter bundle is expanded to form an ellipsoidal shape inside the cavity.

Delivery of radiation 2 times a day for 10 treatments through SAVI's individual catheters allows doctors better control of the radiation dose and is more beneficial for the patient. Not only is the treatment condensed to about one week, the multi-catheter applicator can fit into different cavity shapes, sizes and locations.

SAVI was developed by Cianna Medical, the women's health company dedicated to early detection and treatment of breast cancer. It received clearance for the applicator from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Oct. 2006. For more information about Dianna Medical, call 866-920-9444 or go to

Aurora BayCare Medical Center is a 167-bed, full-service tertiary care hospital located at 2845 Greenbrier Road on Green Bay's east side. It opened in September 2001 as a joint effort of Aurora Health Care and BayCare Clinic.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

BayCare Clinic comprises more than 100 physicians representing 20 medical and surgical specialties. As northeastern Wisconsin's largest independent physician-owned organization, BayCare is dedicated to providing patient choice and high-quality care.


Contact: Krissy Behnke (920-496-6365)

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