(WKMG-TV) -- Imagine a treatment for breast cancer that lasts about 10 minutes and is never needed again.
Oncologists at Florida Hospital in Celebration said the proof is in the early results for women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, which is stage zero to 2A.
To date only one of 900 women treated with a single dose of radiation called intraoperative radiation therapy has reported signs of the cancer returning.
Kimbi Ayers, a nurse at Florida Hospital, said she had never heard of the IORT procedure, but was faced with options when she was diagnosed with breast cancer 18 months ago.
“I stopped for a minute, everything just stopped for a minute,” she said.
She was diagnosed with stage zero breast cancer following a routine biopsy and had to make a decision.
“One of the options was to have radiation after my lumpectomy and radiation would have been every day for about four months,” she said.
She said she discussed IORT with her husband and felt like it was the right choice.
Dr. Olga Ivanov, who treated one of the first patients in the U.S. with IORT, said the short term results have been encouraging.
“Done for the right patient, done at the time of surgery, this procedure is as effective in cancer control as a six-week type of radiation treatment,” Ivanov said.
Ivanov, the medical director of the Comprehensive Breast Health Center at Celebration Health, performed Ayers surgical procedure and administered the low dose radiation.
“There is less damage to the skin because we administer the radiation within the breast," she said. "Truly, deep down I know this procedure works it’s the only reason I offer it to my patients, but being a scientist I don’t want projections of what might happen.”
Ivanov said once long term data (to 2021) is reported she will feel more confident that the procedure works.
Kimbi Ayers said she believes in it now.
Ayers was back to work just a few weeks after her IORT procedure and other than a little discomfort from the incision she said she was fine.
“It gave me hope that I wasn’t going to have to change my entire lifestyle because of cancer and now its 18 months later, cancer free, I get checked every six months to make sure everything is OK,” she said.
For more information on IORT and other breast treatment options, click here.