If you are a woman and you get the diagnosis you have breast cancer, so many thoughts and worries must go through your head. We have heard from countless women that for them a mastectomy was the best choice because they didn't want to worry about the cancer coming back. But now there is a fairly new radiation treatment approved by the FDA in 2002 called breast brachytherapy. If the cancer is caught very early, can provide fantastic results in a lot less time minus the side effects.
Twila Schuler and her husband Willy couldn't be happier. We caught up with the Dupree, South Dakota couple who were in Sioux Falls visiting their only daughter Lisa and they say they are enjoying life to the fullest. Twila is a breast cancer survivor and proudly wears her pink ribbon pin as a badge of honor. She was diagnosed in April of 2005 and was 65 years old at the time. Her mother also had breast cancer but had a mastectomy. Twila opted for breast brachytherapy after her lumpectomy instead.
Twila says, "I chose that treatment because it could be done over a 5 day period because it's internal radiation and could go right to the spot that's been removed."
Dr. Kathleen Schneekloth, a radiation oncologist at the Medical X-Ray Center in the Avera Cancer Institute in Sioux Falls says there is a very specific criteria for who can get this form of treatment. The breast tumor must be detected early, be small and removed entirely. Dr. Schneekloth says very few lymph nodes must also be involved.
She says, "Breast brachytherapy is a type of radiation procedure where radiation is delivered from inside the breast to the quadrant where the tumor had been located vs. the external beam of radiation which takes 6 to 7 weeks."
Dr. Schneekloth says breast brachytherapy cuts down on the trips to the hospital. You go in as an outpatient twice a day, for 5 days and you're done. For Twila who was driving 100 miles from Dupree to Pierre to get treatment she says it made a huge difference.
Twila says, "There was no pain involved with it at all. I have had no side effects. It was just wonderful."
Twila didn't have to undergo chemo therapy, so she was lucky in that aspect. She goes to Pierre for check ups every 6 months and we are happy to report she is cancer free.
Questions? Call 877-at-AVERA or visit www.averamckennan.com