Breast cancer is a relatively common disease, and is (fortunately) amenable to
treatment by surgery, followed by radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy. Increased awareness and early detection have led to more women presenting with small early stage tumours that can be removed by local excision (rather than mastectomy).
However, lumpectomy alone is not enough and can frequently lead to cancer coming back in the breast (local recurrence). The chance of local recurrence can be reduced by the application of radiotherapy to the remaining breast tissue. Most women who receive such radiotherapy have to attend hospital for a few minutes a day over a period of several weeks. Since 1998, the TARGIT team has pioneered an operative technique that can give the radiotherapy once, in the operating room shortly after the surgeon has removed the tumour.