Buddy Check 7: SAVI treatment cuts down radiation time

Published: Feb. 7, 2018 at 7:40 PM CST
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A new treatment is being offered at Marshfield Clinic, that's helping patients battle breast cancer faster than ever before.

Not every patient is a candidate, but for those who are, they call it a game changer.

"In my mind, my initial reaction was to have a double mastectomy and I don't want to ever have to think about this again," two-time cancer survivor, Stephanie Pflager said.

Pflager had already beaten cancer as a child, and wasn't about to let another round take priority in her life.

But, after meeting with a team of doctors at Marshfield Clinic, she was introduced to a new method of breast cancer treatment that fights the bad cells, drastically faster than traditional methods.

"It was kind of intimidating at first. It seems to me to be a big item, but it was so appealing to me to be able to get done with treatment in five days," Pflager said.

Dr. Patricia Lillis emphasized that the treatment is not available to everyone diagnosed with breast cancer.

"It's not for every patient. If the tumor's very large, or if you have a lot of lymph nodes, then the area to be treated has to be much larger, and we like for patients to be at least 45, or at least 50," Dr. Lillis said.

Pflager said the short timeline for treatment was extremely appealing to her.

"I work full-time, it was right before Christmas. I have a life to live like other people do, and I knew the outcome was equivalent to doing the full six weeks of treatment."

Pflager says she had no physical signs of breast cancer, and was alerted of her diagnoses at a routine mammogram.

It was caught at stage zero.

She's thankful it was so early and says the routine check-up is the reason things weren't much worse.

"Do those regular breast exams," Pflager said, "and make sure you're going in for your annual mammogram because that's how my cancer was found."