This medical video looks in the new treatments that make radiation therapy easier.
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Jennifer Matthews: In Helene Shubert’s house, the refrigerator tells the story. Helene Shubert: I have four children, grandchildren, it keeps you going. I have friends, I go to concerts, go to movies, go to plays. Jennifer Matthews: With so much to do in her retirement, there is no time for her own problems. Helene Shubert: I can be in the middle of something and someone would say, well, would you like to do this, sure. Jennifer Matthews: So, when Helene was diagnosed with breast cancer, the normal six weeks of radiation were not appealing. Helene Shubert: We had planned to trip to New York and I didn’t want to have to stop the 33 radiation treatments to go to New York, and then pick up again. Jennifer Matthews: With a new treatment known as Quadrant Radiation that wouldn’t be a problem. Dr. Frank Vicini: We can deliver the same cancer-killing doses of radiation therapy, but in only one week’s time. Jennifer Matthews: After the tumor is removed, doctors use a CT scan to create an image of the area. Dr. Frank Vicini: We tell the computer using a series of these different beam angles to focus the radiation only on the region where the tumor was removed. Jennifer Matthews: 100% of the dose goes to about four centimeters. Other areas get less than a fraction of the treatment. Dr. Frank Vicini: By confining the radiation only to the tissues that require it, we can cause less side-effects potentially to the patient and have a better outcome with respect to quality of life. Jennifer Matthews: It was exactly what Helene needed. Helene Shubert: I went on Monday and on Friday, I was done. Jennifer Matthews: And she still made it to New York. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.