AccuBoost – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Top Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Why would a patient choose Breast Conservation Therapy (BCT)?

Numerous published reports indicate that patients with early-stage breast cancer who choose the lumpectomy option followed by a full course of radiation therapy that includes a boost dose, have as good a chance as those electing mastectomy for overall or cancer-free survival while preserving their breast.10,11  That said, this is an important individual choice and a crucial discussion to have with your Radiation Oncologist.

Why is a "boost" dose necessary with External Beam Radiation Therapy?

The boost dose is an important component of the full course of WBI and is delivered to the tissue adjacent to the surgical cavity, a region from which most recurrences originate. The added boost dose to the surgical margin has been shown to provide additional protection against recurrence.7 

How will I decide between Accelerated Treatment (APBI) and External Beam Radiation Therapy?

This is an important question to ask your radiation oncologist as part of the overall assessment of your cancer and the preferred treatment regimen for you as an individual.  The doctor, nurses, and counselors will help you with that decision process. It is important to bear in mind your own lifestyle preferences and educate yourself on all the options.

 

Learn more about the AccuBoost for APBI or Boost here.

Why might AccuBoost Treatment be the right choice?

The AccuBoost Technique, including real-time image guidance, allows your doctor to concentrate the radiation to the target with minimal radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and neighboring organs. The technique lends itself to few unwanted short and long-term radiation side effects and excellent cosmetic outcomes. You should ask your radiation oncologist about the features of the AccuBoost Technique and how they may apply to you.5,6

What makes the AccuBoost Technique different from other Boost or APBI delivery techniques?

The AccuBoost Technique is unique as it combines breast immobilization, daily imaging (to support precise targeting) and treatment delivery using shielded tungsten applicators. By limiting breast motion, this technique allows your doctor to confidently treat only the tissue that is at highest risk for recurrence while sparing unwanted dose to healthy tissues including skin, chest wall, heart, and lungs. With traditional boost techniques the breast is not immobilized and there often is no daily imaging for localization of target.4

Is it safe for me to be around my loved ones throughout my course of treatment?

The lumpectomy site is exposed to radiation only during the visit to the hospital. No traces of radioactivity are present anywhere in or on the patient after the session is over. The patient is free to follow a routine social life without the fear of causing harm or contaminating others.

Will health insurance cover the cost?

Radiation boost with image guidance to target the dose are accepted procedures for the treatment of breast cancer and are covered by most plans. The same is true for APBI techniques.  Specific coverage for the AccuBoost Technique will depend on your individual healthcare plan.

Is the AccuBoost breast cancer treatment going to hurt?

Patient comfort is extremely important. Every effort will be made by your treatment staff to make you as comfortable as possible during treatment.  The pressure applied to your breast will typically be a fraction of that from a typical mammogram as the goal is simply to hold the breast still (immobilize), not to compress.

Will I be able to drive after my treatment?

As with most post-operative breast radiation treatments, you should still be able to drive after you are treated. That said, every patient experience is different, and you should check with your caregiver if your particular circumstances indicate you should not.

Is there anything going into my breast?

The AccuBoost Technique is 100% non-invasive.  There are a number of breast radiation therapy techniques that require an invasive device or catheters inserted into the breast to deliver treatment. The AccuBoost Technique does not!

How long will my treatment take each day?

On a daily basis, most treatment centers will book a 30-minute time slot for Boost treatment and a 60-minute time slot for APBI. In either case, only a portion of this time is involved in the actual delivery of treatment. The exact length of your treatment depends on specifics of the treatment your doctor delivers.

How many days will I be treated with AccuBoost?

If you are being treated with APBI, your treatment will take 5-10 days depending on the specifics of the options chosen by your radiation oncologist.  Alternately, if you are receiving a “Boost” dose, that can range from 2-10 days, but most patients experience 4-8 days.

Can I continue to work during treatment?

This is a very important question.  Many patients are able to continue working during therapy without interruption. Your medical team will provide guidance about what lifestyle modifications you may or may not need to take.

Will I get a skin reaction?

Skin reactions during breast radiation therapy are very common. With the AccuBoost Technique, it was designed specifically to spare dose to healthy tissues lending itself to reduced toxicity. Predicting, with confidence in advance, if any given patient is going to have a skin reaction and how severe it might be is very difficult, though clinical reports have shown typically either no, or very mild skin reactions, with Accuboost.5, 6 

It is important for patients to be their own advocates and discuss any concerns with your radiation oncologist to potential skin reactions or related side effects.

* REFERENCES: 1 Bartelink, N Engl J Med, 2001.  2 Romestaing, J Clin Oncol, 1977.  3 Oh, Int J Radiation Oncology Biol Phys, 2006.  4 Sioshansi, Int J Radiation Oncology Biol Phys, 2011.  5 Hamid, Int J Radiation Oncology Biol Phys, In Press. 6 Schuster, Brachytherapy, 2016. Bartelink, J Clinical Oncol, 2007 Leonard, Clinical Breast Cancer, 2013 Hepel, Brachytherapy, 2014, 10 Argawal, JAMA Surg, 2014, 11 Poggi, Cancer, 2003

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