Breast cancer patient 1st in Idaho to undergo new treatment

Saint Alphonsus offers new radiation therapy.

BOISE - Days like today, when Sheri Dice is working at her desk at Camping World, are days she thought she would never see.

"The first thing that went through my head, 'it's like a train wreck,'" said Dice. "Your whole life is mixed up."

It was a diagnosis that came in February of 2015 that would change her life forever; breast cancer.

"You don't know what's going to happen, because cancer is not good to anybody," said Dice.

Following her diagnosis, Dr. Elizabeth Prier, a breast surgeon at Saint Alphonsus, told her about a new treatment plan: partial breast radiation. 

"The way that the technology works is you have to insert a radiation catheter into the site of the breast where the lumpectomy was done," said Prier.

"We would just go in in the mornings, they would treat it, then I would go home in the afternoon and come back that evening," said Dice.

Sheri became the first patient in Idaho to undergo this new treatment. One of the best parts?

"It's just five days and then they're done instead of five days a week for a month," said Prier.

It significantly shortens the course of radiation. 

"Five days a week for six weeks, it just wears you down," said Prier.

The quick treatment time allows patients like Dice to return to their daily routines. 

"I did go back to work the next week so it wasn't something that put me down forever or a few days," said Dice.

And just like that, she was back to chasing her three grandkids around.

"I was able to go back and play with them like nothing happened," said Dice. "They said, 'Grammy how was your surgery?' I said, 'honey I'm good, we're good, we're back to normal.'"

It's been a year and a half since Sheri's diagnosis, and she says that sense of normalcy was key to her recovery.

"You get your life back to where you can be before it started, before you knew that you had the cancer," said Dice. 

Doctors say a shorter course of radiation isn't the only benefit with this treatment. They say the side effects of this partial breast radiation are less severe than traditional treatment plans when it comes to fatigue and toxicity levels.

There are also certain guidelines under which a woman could be a candidate for this treatment.

First, the patient has to be at least 50 years old. Also, it has to be caught in the early stages where the tumor is less than 3 centimeters in diameter.

Prier says the location of the tumor also plays a part. She says there has to be enough tissue surrounding the tumor to ensure that it all gets removed.

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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