Breast cancer research conducted by two Fayetteville medical groups highlights their success in pioneering use of an absorbable, three-dimensional marker used during treatment for breast cancer. Their cost analysis, to be presented at an international breast cancer conference this week, showed that by helping to shorten the course of radiation treatments, the surgical marker contributed to a 25% cost savings per patient.
Breast surgeon Michael Cross, M.D. of Breast Treatment Associates and colleagues at Highlands Oncology Group compiled three years of data on use of the BioZorb™ marker, as part of improvements in treating breast cancer. They concluded that this unique device assisted with the targeting of radiation treatments, which are usually needed after breast cancer surgery.
The surgeon sutures the marker directly to the area that needs radiation. With the marker providing greater confidence in targeting, the doctors said they were able to use shorter courses of radiation – an approach that is often referred to as “hypofractionated” therapy.
Hypofractionated radiation treatments typically can be given over three to five weeks, compared to the usual five to seven weeks required for standard radiation therapy.
Recent studies have indicated this shorter course of treatment significantly lowers treatment costs and is just as effective in overall survival rates and preventing cancer recurrence. It also has been shown to lower toxicity and improve patients’ quality of life measures.
The ability to provide radiation with equivalent success in a shorter timeframe is an important and growing trend around the world. However, adoption of these methods has previously been hindered by the difficulty in confidently defining the surgical site needing radiation.