St. Mary's Medical Center Offers 5-Day Treatment for Breast Cancer

Monday, November 21, 2016 Cancer News
Email Print This Page Comment bookmark
Font : A-A+

High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy quickly targets cancerous tissue from inside the breast

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Breast cancer patients at Dignity Health St. Mary's Medical Center may

be able to receive complete radiation treatment in only five days through high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy. This new treatment option delivers a precise, highly concentrated dose of radiation from inside the breast.

"The most significant benefit of HDR is that treatment can be completed in five days, versus six weeks with the common external beam radiation therapy," said Pamela Lewis, MD, medical director of the Sister Diane Grassilli Center for Women's Health at St. Mary's Medical Center.  "HDR can offer patients a much quicker and more effective method of radiation treatment, often with fewer side effects and less downtime than with standard radiation."

During HDR treatment, the surgeon implants a small, temporary catheter into the lumpectomy cavity following tumor removal. Several days later, the patient returns and the HDR machine is affixed to the catheter, where treatment is delivered via radioactive seeds precisely to the area where the tumor was located.

Similar to external radiation beam therapy, the hyper-accurate HDR brachytherapy ensures the maximum radiation dose is given to cancerous tissues while minimizing exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue. The treatment is administered twice a day for five days on an outpatient basis, after which the device is removed, leaving no radioactive seeds behind. HDR can be used in conjunction with other treatment options.

Not all patients will meet the criteria for HDR treatment established from various medical societies.  Tumor size, location, and other factors must be considered. Patients should speak with their physician to determine if this treatment is right for them, or contact the Sister Diane Grassilli Center for Women's Health at 415.750.HERS.

The Sister Diane Grassilli Center for Women's Health also offers the most comprehensive breast imaging capabilities found in San Francisco including next-generation 3D tomosynthesis technology and Whole Breast Ultrasound. St. Mary's has been designated as a Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology, a recognition that represents the national gold standard.

About Dignity Health St. Mary's Medical Center Dignity Health St. Mary's Medical Center is an accredited, not-for-profit community hospital that has been caring for the people of San Francisco since 1857. Located across from Golden Gate Park, it is the longest continually running hospital in San Francisco. For three consecutive years, from 2014 to 2016, St. Mary's received the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence from Healthgrades. St. Mary's also was recognized as one of the Top 100 Orthopedic Programs nationally by Becker's Hospital Review and is a Certified Stroke Center by the Joint Commission. St. Mary's state-of-the-art Cancer Center offers the full-range of oncology, radiation, and imaging services. Beyond clinical care, St. Mary's is committed to furthering the healing ministry, and to providing high-quality, affordable healthcare to the community it serves. For more information, call 415.668.1000 or visit

Join our community:


To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE Dignity Health St. Mary's Medical Center

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
I agree to the terms and conditions

News A - Z


News Search

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Find a Doctor

Press Release Category

Press Release Archive

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store