Partial breast radiation (of which MammoSite is one brand) is increasing in popularity, but it is more expensive, and according to a 2010 article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, there has not been definitve reasearch showing that it is as effective as whole-breast radiation treatments. Here is an excerpt:
Although the idea is promising, Sher said, there aren't any large studies that have compared whole-breast radiation to this treatment. He said one such study was ongoing, but in the meantime, both efficacy and side effects were up in the air.
The new findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, are based on data for nearly 7,000 older women who had radiation treatment after having a breast tumor removed. All had private health insurance in addition to Medicare.
Ya-Chen T. Shih of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and her colleagues found that from 2001 to 2006, the use of partial-breast radiation alone after breast surgery rose steadily from less than one percent of cases to 10 percent, at the expense of whole breast radiation.
Until more evidence becomes available, Sher said, "women should know that the standard of care in managing (cancer of the) breasts is whole-breast radiation."
"There are tens of thousands of women who have been treated with whole-breast radiation and they have done very well," he added.
SOURCE: http://link.reuters.com/xug69q Journal of Clinical Oncology, online December 10, 2010.
I would suggest you discuss the pros and cons of the two methods with one or more radiation oncologists, then decide which approach seems right for you.
Just to update you. I had the lumpectomy on September 15 and opted for MammoSite (partial breast irradiation) so I had the catheter and spacer in place. However, the CT scan on September 19th showed the radiation site too close to the edge of the skin. There needs to be a minimum of 5 mm and I only had 4.6 mm. So the spacer and catheter were removed by the bc, the opening was closed with a couple of stitches, and I now am scheduled for the whole-breast radiation treatment. It's hard to switch gears when you think you know what you're facing, but I'm getting there.
Thanks for the update!
I'm sorry the partial breast irradiation didn't work out for you.
I hope all goes well with the traditional radiation tx.
Wishing you all the best,