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35th breast cancer patient treated with cutting edge radiation treatment

For immediate release: July 25, 2013

Dave Rizzotto, 970.237.7105, 


Click here the procedure through a series of illustrations.

The Xoft System for Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)

The Xoft System control arm.


35th breast cancer patient treated with cutting edge radiation treatment

Poudre Valley Hospital first in Colorado to offer full course of radiation treatment in just one day

Poudre Valley Hospital’s radiation oncology program was the first in Colorado to treat breast cancer patients with intraoperative radiation therapy. Since 2011, Dr. Joshua Petit, radiation oncologist, has treated 35 patients with early-stage breast cancer. He is the only physician offering this treatment option in northern Colorado.

Intraoperative radiation therapy delivers a single, targeted dose of radiation directly to the tumor site immediately following a lumpectomy. When done correctly, this can minimize radiation to healthy tissue and organs.

This therapy reduces the logistically burdensome regimen of conventional radiation therapy. Traditionally, early-stage breast cancer patients treated with lumpectomy went on to receive six weeks of radiation therapy that was delivered to the whole breast by an external beam. By delivering radiation therapy during surgery, intraoperative radiation therapy eliminates the need for some or even all of these subsequent radiation treatments.

By treating only the site of the lumpectomy, and not the whole breast, intraoperative radiation therapy may reduce side effects, and is less costly for patients, explained Dr. Petit. 

In particular, many senior patients from northern Colorado “are greatly relieved to have this new, more convenient, and less stressful treatment option,” said Dr. Petit. “They wake up after their lumpectomy, and the radiation procedure is done.” For many women over 70 years of age, intraoperative radiation therapy serves as the only radiation they need.

“We have older patients from Estes Park, the eastern plains and Wyoming, and they are comforted to know that they won’t have to deal with the difficulty of making more trips back for more radiation in coming weeks.”

Any woman choosing lumpectomy may be now a candidate for intraoperative radiation therapy. Dr. Petit recommends that women consult their physician about this treatment option.    

The Oncology Clinical Research Department at Poudre Valley Hospital, now part of UCHealth, is gathering data on the long term impacts of intraoperative radiation therapy.  "IORT is FDA approved as a therapy for early stage breast cancer patients,” said Erica Dickson, manager of oncology research. “We follow patients who have IORT at the time of lumpectomy and whole breast radiation afterward.” PVH is building on previous research about IORT, following patients for 10 years to confirm the use of IORT in this setting, not only in terms of curing cancer, but in terms of quality of life. To date, 24 patients have enrolled in the study at PVH.

“At University of Colorado Health, we are committed to providing our patients with breakthrough treatment options that improve care and promote quality of life,” said Dr. Petit. “With intraoperative radiation therapy, we can offer patients access to one of the most advanced, and potentially life-changing, breast cancer treatments available today.”

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