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Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI)

Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) is an effective, post-lumpectomy radiation therapy that reduces your treatment from six weeks to just five days. APBI is almost always delivered with a specialized form of High Dose Rate Brachytherapy (internally delivered radiation therapy), but it can also by done with short-course external radiation. This means much less stress on you and your family, less time away from home and work and a quick return to your normal routine. It requires no sedation so you can drive yourself back and forth to treatments.

How It Works

APBI is generally suited for early stage breast cancer cases where breast preservation is a priority. During or soon after your lumpectomy, your surgeon will insert a small deflated balloon through the skin and into the cavity left by the removed tumor. The balloon will then be inflated by filling it with a specific amount of saline. When the balloon is fully inflated no additional measures are needed for the balloon to stay in place. Once inserted, it is left in place for the entire week of treatment. The therapy team then delivers radiation treatment (in the form of radioactive isotopes) directly to the tumor site via catheters within the balloon. ​

Treatment Process

Twice a day for five days, a computer-controlled machine sends the radioactive isotope down the balloon catheters to deliver radiation to the tumor site. The radioactive source may stop at multiple depths and for varying times in the catheter to deliver a highly targeted dose of radiation in less than 10 minutes. The tubes are then removed and you are free to go on your way. The treatment is repeated six hours later. No radiation remains in your body after APBI treatment.


  • Post-surgical radiation treatment for patients with early stage breast cancer
  • Effectively destroys remaining cancer cells
  • High precision techniques enable maximum dosage with minimum risk of side effects
  • No sedation necessary and shorter treatment times help minimize interruption of normal activities
  • No radiation remains in your body after treatment

Types of Cancer Treated with APBI

Currently, APBI is being used at the Cancer Center to treat:

The Cancer Center operates in partnership with Upstate Cancer Center.