Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) is the delivery of radiation treatment during cancer surgery, rather than as a separate procedure.

Conditions We Treat

IORT is used for treating breast cancer as part of a new protocol called Partial Breast Irradiation. This protocol involves two other treatments, external beam radiation and high-dose brachytherapy
Treatment Process:

Before Treatment Begins

Before radiation treatment begins, each patient will have a preliminary appointment that allows physicians to prescribe the proper dosage and delivery of radiation.
Once this "set-up" is complete and special blocks have been made to shield healthy organs from the radiation, treatment can be scheduled.

How IORT Works

In the intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) protocol, a high dose of radiation is focused on the remaining tissue surrounding a tumor that has been removed during surgery while the patient is still in the operating room.

Factors in Successful Treatment

Appropriate patient selection and expert surgical technique are both critical to the success of IORT because clean margins must be present after the tumor is removed before it is advisable to limit radiation treatment to just the tumor site.

Features & Advantages

IORT has two chief advantages. First, in some cases, no further radiation treatment is required following IORT, making it a much more convenient approach for delivering therapy. Secondly, physicians are able to shield surrounding organs from radiation, limiting side effects to healthy tissue.

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