An innovative way of treating breast cancer is now being practiced at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital.

It involves combining the surgery to remove the tumour, with preparing patients for radiation therapy.

The entire procedure, called an intra-operative brachytherapy, is done in the operating room.

“We have just one surgical intervention where we do the mastectomy and the brachytherapy at the same time,” said Dr. Israel Fortin, a radiation oncologist.

Surgeons remove the tumour and then Dr. Fortin and his team move in.

They use needles and insert catheters and around the hole where the tumour previously existed.

Dr. Fortin says he is one of the first doctors to implement this method in the province.

One of the biggest benefits, he says, is a shorter wait time between surgery and the end of treatment. 

“Historically, breast cancer treatment in radiation oncology was two to four months from the surgery to the end of radiation,” he said. 

Linda Girard is experiencing the treatment after undergoing a partial mastectomy.

“I’m a bit emotional,” she said. “All I want to do is get better as soon as possible.”

Dr. Fortin wants to be able to offer the procedure to Linda and as many patients as possible at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital.