The Montana Cancer Center at Missoula's St. Patrick Hospital received the SAVI excellence award on Wednesday morning.

Dr. Jeffrey Stephenson said the Montana Cancer Center was the first in Montana to offer the SAVI applicator, an advanced therapy that can provide important advantages for patients with early-stage breast cancer.

"It's accelerated partial breast radiation," Dr. Stephenson said. "It's an implantable device that we can put in after the surgery into the lumpectomy cavity for women with early-stage breast cancer. In the past, women would have to have five to six weeks of radiation Monday through Friday. Now, by placing this device in the cavity, we can give one week of treatment instead of six weeks of treatment."

Dr. Stephenson said the treatment has been so successful that the hospital has been honored by the device's manufacturer.

"We've been so busy doing the procedure that we now have achieved the "Center of Excellence" award for the SAVI treatment," he said.

Dr. Jeffrey Stephenson

photo by Peter Christian

Jill King is a patient who has benefited from the SAVI treatment at the Montana Cancer Center.

"As far as my lifestyle goes, the treatment has been perfect for me," King said. "Five days of having treatment twice a day, I came in at 8 in the morning and had my treatment for an hour, went to work for five hours, and then came back in for my next treatment. And before I knew it, it was done."

King was grateful for the care she received from the Montana Cancer Center.

"To have the SAVI treatment through the St. Pat's crew, this team is incredible," King said. "I don't know how to say thank you to them. I just clicked with them all, and it was great."

Jill King