Purpose: Sixty-seven patients with early-stage breast cancer were treated in a Phase I/II clinical trial using a (103)Pd permanent breast seed implant as adjuvant radiotherapy after breast-conserving surgery. We report the dose received by family members living with these patients and compare measured doses with theoretical worst-case scenario estimates.
Methods and materials: Exposure-rate measurements were taken at 1 m from the patient by using a calibrated low-energy survey meter. Landauer (Landauer Inc., Glenwood, IL) Luxel badges, with sensitivity of 0.01 mSv, were given to family members to wear after the implantation. Badge readings for 33 spouses and 28 other family members were used to estimate effective doses, and these were compared with theory.
Results: Average preimplantation planning target volume from computed tomography was 50.3 ml (range, 18.0-96.7 ml), and average preimplantation distance between the skin and the most anterior planning target volume margin was 0.57 cm. The average maximum exposure rate was measured to be 2.4 +/- 1.1 mR/h, and average measured dose to a spouse was 0.99 +/- 1.0 mSv. The calculated exposure rates and spousal doses using preimplantation computed tomography scan data overestimated those measured. Average measured family member dose (excluding spouses) was 0.20 +/- 0.58 mSv.
Conclusions: Based on measured and calculated spousal doses, a permanent breast seed implant using (103)Pd is safe for the public. However, it is recommended that extra precautions in the way of a breast patch be used when patients with an implant will be in the vicinity of toddlers or pregnant women.