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VCU Massey Cancer Center



VCU Massey Cancer Center was the fifth site in the world and the first in Virginia to offer AccuBoost, an image-guided treatment for breast cancer. The process uses digital mammography for localization and surface applications for the delivery of radiation.

The treatment is as easy for the patient as getting a mammogram, according to Doug Arthur, M.D., chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology, who also helped to develop the technology with AccuBoost. “We typically give patients a ‘boost’ of radiation to the surgical site following whole-breast radiation treatment,” explains Arthur. “AccuBoost is an image-guided method to improve dose delivery that confirms that each boost dose is successful and it’s noninvasive. It’s a great complement to a wide array of treatments we offer our patients.”

Patients receive treatment each day for five to eight days, and for each treatment, the beam targets different angles so that the entire surface is radiated. The brachytherapy suite in Massey’s Department of Radiation Oncology has the AccuBoost digital mammography unit available to facilitate the delivery of this treatment technique.

The advantages of AccuBoost

According to the AccuBoost Web site, the tried-and-true mainstream practice of whole breast irradiation following lumpectomy has an excellent record that spans more than three decades. The WBI procedure includes an all-important “boost” phase. The AccuBoost system is designed to target the boost dose scientifically and accurately with good quality control. The anticipated benefits of AccuBoost include:

  • Noninvasive radiation delivery in a simple outpatient procedure
  • Accurate targeting of the radiation to the intended site via real-time image guidance
  • Conformal radiation field — matches the target size, shape and location 
  • Minimal dose to healthy tissue as the radiation is focused on the intended target, sparing exposure to the heart, lungs and the uninvolved breast 
  • Uniform radiation field from the center to the edge 
  • Homogenous treatment — no hot or cold spots in the field 
  • Excellent reliability, reproducibility and process control 
  • Digital map of the boost dose for in-process correction and for future reference
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