Reducing Need for Multiple Radiation Treatments

April 12, 2021
Radiation Oncology at Mercy

Mercy radiation oncologist Dr. Maria Jacobs discusses reducing need for in-hospital radiation treatments with intrabeam radiotherapy system.

Women who have undergone a lumpectomy for breast cancer usually need to return to the hospital for weeks of daily radiation therapy, but technology is eliminating that need.

The procedure is called targeted intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT). The technology is called INTRABREAM.

How it works: radiation is delivered inside the breast during surgery, immediately after the tumor is removed. It's one large dose that minimizes excessive radiation to neighboring tissue.

“So, it’s an ideal dose of radiation to prevent a local recurrence of the cancer, particularly in patients with breast cancer,” said Maria C.E. Jacobs, M.D., Director of Radiation Oncology at Mercy.

Specifically, early-stage breast cancer.

According to Dr. Jacobs, the procedure is also a good option for patients who fear multiple visits to the hospital during the pandemic and might not otherwise complete their treatment.

“With IORT, patients experience less irritation of healthy breast tissue, minimized exposure to the chest cavity and underlying organs, and fewer skin reactions, such as redness, rashes, and irritation. And now, given COVID-19, risk to the patient is reduced by eliminating the need to make multiple visits to the hospital for radiation treatments,” Dr. Jacobs said.

Since March of 2020, overall deaths in the United States have increased 20% compared to predicted mortality rates, according to a study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Yet fully one third of these “excess deaths” are due to causes other than COVID-19, leading researchers to conclude that the coronavirus is impacting Americans’ decisions to seek medical care for other diseases, including cancer. The study found a direct correlation between COVID-19 surges in the spring and an increase in non-coronavirus-related deaths during the same period of time.

Mercy was the first hospital in Maryland to acquire the INTRABEAM® Radiotherapy System in 2012, and remains the only hospital in the state to offer patients the INTRABEAM system.

To view Dr. Maria Jacobs’ interview regarding IORT and the Intrabeam system, click here.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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