Assal Rahimi, M.D.
Treating breast cancer patients with radiation therapy is the sole clinical focus for Assal Rahimi, M.D., M.S. Her experience in this area gives her the tools necessary to answer patient questions openly and honestly. Preparing for radiation treatment, or any kind of cancer treatment, can be scary, she says, and spending time with patients until they feel comfortable with their treatment plan is an important part of the process.
Breast cancer patients who come to UT Southwestern have access to technology and expertise they can’t find anywhere else in North Texas.”
Dr. Rahimi is a highly trained board-certified radiation oncologist and a key member of the breast cancer care team at UT Southwestern. She joined the team in August 2011 after concluding her residency in radiation oncology at the University of Virginia and completing special training with the American Brachytherapy Society that same year.
Over the last decade, radiation treatment for breast cancer has been moving from treatment of the whole breast toward the (still investigational) option of partial breast irradiation, which was the focus of the special training Dr. Rahimi completed with the American Brachytherapy Society. This approach exposes the heart, lungs, and skin to less unnecessary radiation and can be delivered via interstitial brachytherapy, balloon brachytherapy, or external beam radiation therapy.
Dr. Rahimi is looking forward to the arrival of the experimental Gamma Pod radiotherapy system at UT Southwestern in the coming months, one of the first such systems in the United States. The Gamma Pod is a platform for stereotactic radiation, like the Gamma Knife for brain tumors, that immobilizes the breast and allows for higher doses of radiation to the breast tumor in fewer visits.
“The Gamma Pod will give us a non-invasive tool for partial breast cancer radiation treatments,” says Dr. Rahimi. “I know my patients would appreciate that. It’s less disrupting to their lives outside of their cancer.”