Health Plus: eBx Breast Cancer Treatment - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: eBx Breast Cancer Treatment

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Treatments for breast cancer are improving so quickly, some patients are not aware of what's available in their backyard.

One Waterloo woman almost went to Cedar Rapids, until she discovered a new machine at the Covenant Cancer Treatment Center.

Here's Health Plus:

It wasn't the first time Barb O'Banion had an abnormal mammogram.

But that one ten years ago turned out to be nothing.

This time the 73-year-old Waterloo woman had breast cancer.

 "Well, I was just glad it was me and not one of my daughters because I have three girls," said Barb O'Banion.

After an outpatient surgery in April, treatment options included a drive to Cedar Rapids or a much longer course closer to home--until she heard about eBx at the Covenant Cancer Treatment Center.

"It did not hurt. It takes 7 minutes. And then you get up and you get dressed. Then you come back at 2:30 and you do the same thing," she said.

"We've been using it in the breast cancer patients shrinking their treatment from 6 weeks to 1 week. We've been using it actually more than we anticipated for the patients with uterine cancer. We now do them as an outpatient, 30-minutes once a week for 3 weeks," said Dr. Cassandra Foens.

Foens says electronic brachy therapy or close-up therapy is ideal for a woman whose case meets certain criteria.

"We are looking for women 65 or older with small cancer, negative lymph nodes and cancers that aren't too close to the skin," said Foens.

But you need to get in before a breast cancer surgery happens.

"They need to ask, 'Am I a candidate for this treatment?  Can I go talk to the radiation doctors before you schedule me for my surgery?'" she added.

Barb's eBx course lasted only five days, with two daily treatments.

Online reporter/Anchor: Tara Thomas

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