About Hollings Cancer Center

Comprehensive breast care program

MammoSite Frequently Asked Questions

How can the MammoSite help in breast cancer treatment?

The use of partial breast irradiation to provide radiation following lumpectomy is growing rapidly. The MammoSite is a simple means of providing the prescribed radiation, with minimal side effects and good cosmetic results.

Am I an appropriate candidate for treatment with MammoSite?

The MammoSite is intended to provide brachytherapy following a lumpectomy. Physicians generally recommend the MammoSite for appropriate early-stage breast cancer patients. Your doctor will need to determine if the MammoSite may be right for you.

What are the side effects of this type of treatment?

The MammoSite has been carefully tested in clinical trials. Following treatment, patients did experience minor breast-related side effects, such as redness, bruising, and breast pain. All of these are common side effects of breast surgery and/or radiation therapy and usually last for only a short time. You may also have some drainage from the insertion site, which is normal and will decrease over time.

Are there any risks in exposing family members to radiation while the MammoSite is implanted?

No source of radiation remains in your body between treatments or after the final treatment is over. The tiny radioactive source is inserted only during appointments and is then removed. The balloon itself and the liquid inside are not radioactive in any way.

Will this treatment limit my ability to receive other types of treatments in the future?

The MammoSite delivers radiation therapy from the inside, placing the radiation close to the tissue that is at highest risk for tumor recurrence. Many factors will influence whether additional therapy is possible, but therapy with the MammoSite may not exclude the use of additional future radiation. Other treatments, such as chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, may also be prescribed.

How long will the device stay in the breast? How long does the radiation treatment last?

The catheter will typically be in your breast for 7 to 10 days. Radiation therapy with the MammoSite usually will last no more than 5 days.

Are there any special requirements for care of the MammoSite during treatment?

Your doctor will provide instructions on caring for the MammoSite during the course of therapy.

Will health insurance cover the cost of the procedure?

Radiation therapy with internal radiation is an accepted treatment for breast cancer and is covered by most insurers. Specific coverage for the MammoSite will depend on your individual health plan.

Information provided by Cytyc Corporation makers of Mammosite.

Mammosite Web site (opens in a new window)

MammoSite procedure with balloon catheter

Learn more about MammoSite

MammoSite Procedure 

Frequently Asked Questions

Mammosite Patient Brochure

Read more about Mammosite on the Web


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