PHOENIX (KSAZ) - An incredible breakthrough in the fight against breast cancer. A treatment dramatically cuts the time needed for treatment.
Kelly Bernabei lost her husband to lymphoma a few years ago, then last Spring cancer struck her family once again.
"I went in and I got my mammogram, and I wasn't thinking anything of it, and the next thing I know they're like um you need to go see someone," said Bernabei.
Kelly was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer, and underwent two lumpectomies. While caring for her handicapped son, long radiation treatments weren't an option, so she enrolled in a national clinical trial called Triumph-T.
"Patients come in twice a day morning and night, it's about a 9 minute treatment where they get hooked up to a robot that runs the radioactive pellet inside the woman's breast," said Dr. Robert Kuske.
Dr. Kuske heads the trial at Arizona Breast Cancer Specialists, 1 of 8 locations participating in the study. While traditional radiation treats the entire breast from the outside, the Triumph T trial uses brachytherapy, or radiation targeted at just the tumor.
"We put a tube in there, then it's completely surrounded and a radioactive seed the size of pencil lead gets run down the catheters and it gives radiation completely inside the breast," said Kuske.
The entire treatment takes only two days, compared to 6.5 weeks for traditional therapy. Triumph T also has fewer side effects and costs 70% less.
"There is absolutely no visual issues from the catheters in there, they are totally gone, no scarring, no nothing, it's amazing," said Bernabei.