July 24, 2006

MRH Cancer Center Adds New Technology for the Treatment of Breast Cancer

COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Maury Regional Hospital recently began utilizing the MammoSite® Radiation Therapy System (RTS) in the treatment of breast cancer. The device is comprised of a balloon catheter that internally administers the prescribed dose of radiation to targeted breast tissue in a one- to five-day course of therapy, according to Michael Sattasiri, M.D., a radiation oncologist and medical director for the Cancer Center. 

“By adding this technology, the treatment course for patients is much shorter, which patients find appealing and allows us to better meet their needs,” said Dr. Sattasiri. “The role of the surgeon is vital in this treatment and we’ve worked closely together to bring this service to breast cancer patients in our region.”

During the lumpectomy procedure or shortly thereafter, the deflated MammoSite® balloon is placed inside the tumor cavity by the surgeon. The applicator shaft, a tube connected to the balloon, remains outside the breast. Once in place, the balloon is inflated with saline to fill the cavity. The balloon remains inflated for the entire time that the patient is receiving radiation therapy. After the balloon is inflated, the catheter exit site is dressed and the patient may go home. The patient returns to the Cancer Center for treatment on an outpatient basis where a radioactive “seed” is inserted within the inflated balloon, beginning a one- to five-day sequence of treatments. No source of radiation remains in the patient’s body between treatments or after the final procedure. When the therapy is concluded, the balloon is deflated and the MammoSite® RTS catheter is easily removed.

Dr. John P.W. Brown, a surgeon on the hospital’s medical staff and a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons, states, “By internally delivering radiation directly to the tissue surrounding the original tumor site, the exposure to the rest of the breast, skin, ribs, lungs and heart is minimized. I highly recommend this treatment option for patients who have had a lumpectomy for breast cancer."

Nancy Gear, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and chose MammoSite® as her treatment option, adds, “I chose MammoSite because it meant less treatment time and less scarring than with other treatment options. I would highly recommend it for those who are appropriate candidates. I had no contour deformities in the breast and I never had any ill affects from the radiation. I was able to carry on with my daily routines.”

According to the American Cancer Society, about 212,920 women in the United States will be found to have invasive breast cancer in 2006. The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is about 1 in 8 and the chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 33. Fortunately, breast cancer death rates are going down. This decline is probably the result of finding the cancer earlier and improved treatment options.

According to Dana Salters, Maury Regional Women’s Services Coordinator, technology has had a great impact on finding and treating breast cancer earlier.  Tools used in the Women’s Center include computer-aided detection used in reading mammograms and a variety of advanced breast biopsy techniques. 

Another important service provided by the Women’s Center is the personalized care provided by Women’s Health Specialist Carolyn Bolin. In her role, she counsels women diagnosed with breast cancer and assists in coordinating a treatment plan with the patient, primary care physician and surgeon. She also assists the surgeon with MammoSite® procedures and provides continued support for patients with any special needs.

For more information about the services and technology available in the Maury Regional Women’s Center, visit our Women’s Services section of the web site at or call 931.540.4167.

Maury Regional Hospital in Columbia, Tennessee is a 275-bed not-for-profit regional medical center established in 1953. The JCAHO-accredited hospital has a medical staff of 157 physicians, representing more than 30 specialties, and serves approximately 250,000 residents in southern Middle Tennessee. It is the flagship hospital for a system with additional facilities in Spring Hill, Hohenwald, Lewisburg and Waynesboro. For more information, visit




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