Metropolitan Hospital Launches Revolutionary Service Against Cancer In Costa Rica

    It is applied to breast cancer in early stages and other types such as recurrences of rectal cancer, sarcomas and operable and inoperable pancreatic tumors

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    In a constant effort to raise the standards of oncological care, the Metropolitan Hospital incorporated a new intraoperative radiotherapy service, a revolutionary technique that is applied during surgery to combat breast cancer and other types of cancer.

    Application of radiation beams

    This innovative technique consists of the application of radiation beams during surgery to destroy the DNA of tumor cells that may have remained in the surgical bed.

    The main objective of this treatment is to reduce the risk of local recurrence of the disease, especially in cases of breast cancer. In these cases, there is a possibility that the tumor will return in the first millimeters around the lesion after surgery, with a risk ranging between 10% and 30%.

    “Intraoperative radiotherapy is applied with a special cone while the patient is sedated in the operating room, which allows the tumor to be eliminated and the risk of recurrence significantly reduced in a single surgical act,” explained Rolando Loría, doctor, Master in Applications. Advanced Technologies in Radiation Oncology of the Cancer and Hematology Center of the Metropolitan Hospital.

    The technique stands out for its application in breast cancer, especially in early stages and in women over 50 years of age with positive hormone receptors, who benefit from a single shot of high dose of radiation, equivalent to multiple conventional sessions.

    One of the main advantages of this treatment is the reduction in the number of radiotherapy sessions and the decrease in associated toxicities. Being a highly targeted, structures close to the tumor, such as the heart, lungs, chest wall, and skin, do not receive radiation, which significantly reduces the likelihood of adverse effects.

    Extends to other types of cancer

    “This therapy also extends to other types of cancer, such as recurrences of rectal cancer, soft tissue sarcomas, and operable and inoperable pancreatic tumors,” added Loría, who detailed its use most frequently in breast cancer due to its high incidence.

    In patients with breast cancer, treatment is indicated for women with stage zero or stage one, who are over 50 years of age and who have positive hormone receptors.

    “These characteristics are evaluated during the consultation to determine the possibility of applying the treatment. However, it is important to note that not all cases are suitable for this type of intraoperative radiotherapy, so in some cases traditional treatments will be required. We assess factors such as age, tumor size and hormonal sensitivity to guarantee optimal results,” Loría explained.

    Regarding the application of radiation, it does not last more than two minutes and is performed in the operating room, providing an effective and efficient alternative. If the disease hypothetically returns, the surgical approach allows the irradiated tissue to be removed, preserving the rest of the breast.

    “This innovation not only reduces the need for multiple postoperative radiotherapy sessions, but also minimizes possible complications by focusing precisely on the affected area,” explained Loría, who also explained that with the introduction of this technique, the Metropolitan Hospital, continues to demonstrate its commitment to the forefront of cancer care in the country.

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