Intraoperative Radiation Therapy

St John of God Subiaco Hospital is the only private hospital in Australia offering Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT), a rapid radiation treatment for breast cancer.

Suitable for select women with early breast cancer, IORT reduces treatment time from three to seven weeks of daily radiation to a single, targeted treatment that is administered while a patient is undergoing surgery to remove the cancer.

After a patient’s tumor is removed by a surgeon, and before the incision is closed, radiation is strategically delivered to the area where the tumor was located by a radiation oncologist for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. 

This provides a precise therapeutic dose in the location where local recurrence is most likely to occur.

Some of the significant patient benefits of IORT:

  • By dramatically reducing treatment time and minimising side effects, patients can spend more time focusing on their recovery and can resume daily activities sooner
  • IORT offers convenience to women who work full-time, and to rural patients who have traditionally had to arrange and pay for accommodation for extended periods of time when coming to Perth to receive treatment
  • Radiation targets tissue in the tumor bed from the inside, minimising exposure to healthy tissue and organs

Step 1: The postion of the tumor is determined.

IORT step 1

Step 2: During surgery a minimally invasive access point is created.

IORT step 2

Step 3: The tumor is surgically removed.

IORT step 3

Step 4: The correct size of the applicator is determined and the applicator is positioned in the tumor bed.

IORT step 4

Step 5: The tumor bed is locally irradiated for about 30 minutes.

IORT step 5

Step 6: The applicator is removed and the incision closed.

IORT step 6


St John of God Subiaco Hospital specialists currently trained in the use of IORT are:

Breast Surgeon Prof Christobel Saunders AO  
Breast Surgeon Dr Lee Jackson 

Radiation is administered by GenesisCare Radiation Oncologists. 

For a referral to Prof Saunders or Dr Jackson, please speak with your General Practioner.

For more information about IORT or a referral to Prof Saunders or Dr Jackson, please speak with your general practitioner.

Our other breast surgeons are currently undergoing training and accreditation and will be offering this service by April 2020.

For more information about our cancer services please visit Cancer care.