CELEBRATION, Fla (WOFL FOX 35) - Florida Hospital in Celebration is one of only about 50 hospitals nationwide to offer a breakthrough breast cancer treatment.
No more repeated doses of radiation, or mastectomies in some cases; it's just one simple dose.
51-year-old Kimberly Ayers is one of the area's very first patients to undergo the new treatment. "I don't think about a year ago I was told I have breast cancer. I don't think about it," said Ayers.
One year ago, Kimbi found herself at Florida Hospital in Celebration, shaking hands with Breast Cancer Specialist Dr. Olga Ivanov learning for the very first time about Intra Operative Radiation Therapy and how the breakthrough technology would not only get rid of her early stage breast cancer, but how it would obliterate everything she thought she knew about breast cancer treatment.
"I had the procedure done and two weeks later I was back at work and doing what I love and we were traveling," said Ayers.
That's because with Intra Operative Radiation Therapy, or IORT, surgeons and radiation oncologists work together in the operating room to administer one precise concentrated dose of radiation to the tumor site at the time of lumpectomy.
It's internal; no burning the skin, no damaging other cells. At Celebration Health, they use the XOFT System. Dr. Olga Ivanov demonstrates how it's done with the XOFT equipment. "We would have the patient in the bed right here, the balloon would be staying inside the breast, then we would plop it right here, then we would snake in a radiation source into the balloon," said Dr. Ivanov."It's probably a nine to twelve minute procedure."
Dr. Ivanov was the first doctor in the U-S to do IORT with the XOFT System in Chicago in 2008. IORT has been done full scale at Celebration Health since January of 2015 for patients who fit the parameters: stage 1 or early stage 2 and not too young because recurrence rates for younger breast cancer patients tend to be higher so doctors prefer the most aggressive treatments.
For the right patients, like Kimbi, Dr. Ivanov says the recurrence rate is three percent or less. "It makes me realize the importance of early detection," Dr. Ivanov said. "It's as important now as it has ever been because now we can truly spare a lot of pain and toxicity that's associated with treating later stage breast cancers. They literally wake up and go home; they don't even take a Tylenol in some cases."
"It really blessed my life," said Kimbi. "I could be so different right now if it hadn't been for her showing me this new procedure and giving me this option."
An option that's painting a new picture of the way doctors can better treat breast cancer.