Taking the Fight to Breast Cancer AccuBoost Treatment at Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute

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A joint venture between Ascension Genesys and Hurley Medical Center, the Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute (GHCI) takes pride in its comprehensive treatment of the deadly disease. “We offer the full gamut of services at GHCI – from medical and radiation treatments to support services such as transportation, financial assistance, support groups, exercise classes, yoga, painting and more,” says Melissa Farney, Quality Practice Manager at the Institute. “We offer free social worker services and a registered dietician to help patients with their nutritional needs. We want our patients to receive everything they need to recover.”

 

The GHCI follows the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for treatment, which advises AccuBoost for women over 50 years of age with small tumors.

 

The radiation oncology department at the Institute is second-to-none, offering varying procedures designed to give the patient the best chance of surviving the disease and limiting the chance of recurrence. These include Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT), Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3D-CRT), Brachytherapy and AccuBoost.

Used to fight breast cancer, AccuBoost is a form of radiation therapy that is unique to GHCI. “The Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute is the only place in Michigan that offers AccuBoost therapy,” says Dr. Paul Kocheril, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology. “It is noninvasive, safer, and a more accurate way to fight breast cancer than other radiation techniques.”

AccuBoost is designed to limit the amount of radiation sent to the chest, heart and lungs. It achieves this by delivering radiation parallel to the chest and only to the tumor bed located in the breast. In the procedure, the woman’s breast is compressed between two oval-shaped applicators on plexiglass plates using the mammography machine. Radiation is administered vertically to the surgical site and then, horizontally. Next, radiation is applied in both directions at the same time to apply the full treatment dose. All the while, the radiation is being fine-tuned and targeted by professionals using the mammogram for reference. The procedure is used after the tumor is extracted to reduce the chance of cancer recurrence. “After the tumor has been removed surgically, microscopic tumor cells remain in the area in and around the surgical site,” explains Dr. Kocheril. “Radiation treatment such as this greatly reduces the odds of recurrence by eliminating those microscopic cells. The precise targeting of radiation in the procedure is more efficient and reduces side effects by focusing solely on the portion of the breast that needs it most.” The procedure is painless with less discomfort than a standard mammogram. It works best for women with early-stage breast cancer when survival rates are high. The GHCI follows the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for treatment, which advises AccuBoost for women over 50 years of age with small tumors.

“The benefits of the procedure include highly accurate radiation targeting, an excellent cosmetic outcome with no scars or blemishes, a minimal dose to surrounding tissue, and a shortened course of treatment,” says Farney. “Other radiation treatments can take up to six weeks and 25-30 treatments that leave the patient drained for the rest of the day. With AccuBoost, patients generally undergo just 5-10 treatments over the course of two weeks. I’ve had patients come in for treatment on their lunch break from work and then continue with the rest of their day,” she adds.

As the fight against breast cancer continues, the GHCI works hard to offer the best and newest procedures and treatments for cancer patients and AccuBoost sits at the top of the list. “We combine the safest treatments with top-notch, committed and compassionate caregivers to give cancer patients their best shot at beating and recovering from the disease,” states Dr. Kocheril. “This is what sets the Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute apart from other facilities.”

 

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