Radiation Oncology

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) is the administration of radiation while you are undergoing tumor removal surgery. Using highly advanced technology, breast surgeons and radiation therapists can precisely aim this "boost" of radiation at the breast tumor site.

St. Joseph Hospital is the first hospital in Orange County to offer this curative treatment to improve outcomes for breast cancer patients. IORT offers the patient many advantages over having radiation treatments after surgery. Advantages include:

  • Surrounding, healthy tissue is moved aside so that it is not affected by the radiation, thereby reducing side effects.
  • Because the healthy tissue is not affected, cosmetic results are improved.
  • Treatment is easier for the patient. By having this high dose of radiation delivered during surgery, radiation oncology treatment appointments after surgery are decreased.
  • Cancer cells that may remain after the tumor was removed are destroyed, before they have a chance to spread.

In the past, IORT was only offered by a handful of leading hospitals nationwide. This is because the patient had to be transported during surgery to radiology, where the radiation oncology equipment had to be housed. Transport increased surgical risk, with longer anesthesia time and added risk of infection. The advanced technology used by St. Joseph Hospital to perform IORT is safely used within the operating room.

Before a patient can receive IORT, her team of radiation, surgical and medical oncologists will evaluate whether she is a candidate for this procedure. If you would like to find a physician skilled in this new treatment option, please call (714) 734-6256.

Click here for more information on IORT.