Wellstar Community Report – July 2018 - June 2020

INNOVATIVECANCERCARE An advanced method of removing a breast cancer tumor offers an alternative to the traditional choices.

Traditional methods for treating breast cancer are a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast) or lumpectomy (removal of the tumor), followed by radiation (either whole breast or partial breast). Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) was introduced at Wellstar North Fulton Hospital in 2019 and has been enthusiastically embraced. The two-part, single-procedure method involves removal of the cancerous tumor and introduction of high-dose radiation through a saline-filled balloon that is removed during the operation. The best candidates for IORT are patients over 40 with a small tumor that has not spread outside the breast. According to Wellstar radiation oncologist Mark McLaughlin, M.D. (pictured in the right image below), IORT saves patients time and money. He describes the method as a "game changer," as

it can reduce the number of patient radiation visits from 25 to zero. Other benefits include less involvement of other tissues, quicker recovery and a better cosmetic result. Dr. McLaughlin teamed up with Wellstar breast surgeon Laura Pearson, M.D., (pictured in the left image below) to perform the first Wellstar IORT procedure. Says Dr. Pearson, “IORT is unique because it requires close collaboration from the care team. From start to finish, we work together to ensure the procedure is successful.” Adds Dr. McLaughlin, “With treatments like IORT, Wellstar patients can get back to their lives sooner and live life to the fullest.” Investment in innovations like IORT means more choices and better outcomes for Wellstar patients. IORT is currently offered at Wellstar North Fulton and Wellstar Kennestone hospitals.


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