St. Luke's University Health Network


    • INTRABEAM IORT for Early Stage Breast Cancer

INTRABEAM IORT for Early Stage Breast Cancer

INTRABEAM® IORT Technology at St. Luke's Anderson Campus Spares some Women with Early Stage Breast Cancer Weeks of Radiation Therapy

Fewer than 50 sites nationwide offer this advanced intraoperative radiation therapy

Bethlehem, PA (4/15/2013) - For women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, a new revolution in treatment known as intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), can spare some women weeks of radiation therapy. INTRABEAM® IORT is available at St. Luke's Hospital-Anderson Campus. Fewer than 50 sites in the United States offer this advanced mobile IORT technology.

What makes IORT so unique? “In some cases, a single IORT treatment performed in the Operating Room in about 30 minutes immediately following lumpectomy may be the only radiation treatment a woman needs,” says Lee Riley, MD, PhD, FACS, Medical Director, Oncology Services, St. Luke's University Health Network. “Still, women who require additional standard radiation therapy in conjunction with IORT can have their treatments over a shorter period of time.”

Typically, women who are candidates for a breast cancer lumpectomy undergo surgical removal of the tumor followed by a six-week course of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT).

“EBRT continues to be a highly effective treatment approach and has long been considered the gold standard of care,” says Nimisha Deb, MD, Chief, Radiation Oncology, St. Luke's University Health Network. “With a variety of treatments available for early stage patients, we can now personalize treatments with a range of radiation options based on tumor characteristics and patient convenience. IORT used alone or as a boost adds to our repertoire. It's fast and effective and gives women who are candidates for breast conservation an excellent option.”

IORT Allows Women to Resume their Daily Routine Faster

Following surgical removal of the tumor and using a cone-shaped applicator, low-energy, high-dose X-rays target the tumor bed cavity where recurrence is most likely. “This IORT treatment is precise and immediate, and allows many women to resume their daily routine faster and with better quality of life,” says Dr. Riley. “I consider it to be a game changer in terms of early stage breast cancer treatment.”

First Patient to Receive IORT

Kathleen Lisella, age 83 and a life-long resident of Summit Hill, was the first patient to have IORT at St. Luke's Hospital-Anderson Campus. Kathleen learned she had a problem in February after her annual mammogram indicated something suspicious. Her gynecologist, Dr. Richard Miller of St. Luke’s Miners Gynecology, referred her to St. Luke's Regional Breast Center in Center Valley for further evaluation. The diagnosis was early stage breast cancer.

Kathleen was then referred to Dr. Riley, who told her about IORT. “I thought it sounded great; I was hoping I would be a candidate,” she says, “and I was.”

Kathleen underwent a lumpectomy, followed by IORT, on March 25. She was able to leave the hospital the same day and stayed with daughter Michele Kennedy of Nazareth for a few weeks afterward. “I can't get over it,” says Kathleen. “I had no pain and I was in good spirits through the whole thing. My daughter suggested I take a pain pill the night of the surgery, but I only took half because she insisted. I had a slight skin irritation from the incision, but it didn't last long. I felt like I could do anything afterwards. Today, I just feel wonderful.”

“As a caregiver, it was a big relief for me, too, knowing she would not have to have weeks of radiation therapy,” says Michele. “Mom is now home and doing what she enjoys most—reading mysteries and having tea with her sister every day. With this behind us, she's also looking forward to attending her grandson's wedding in Pittsburgh.”

“Since Kathleen's pathology report shows no further evidence of disease, she will not need any additional radiation therapy treatment,” says Dr. Riley. “Kathleen is doing very well.”


Sue Ross
Director, Marketing & Public Relations
St. Luke's University Health Network

Denise Rader
Director, Media Relations
St. Luke's University Health Network