Skip to content
|Three Week Radiation Therapy as Effective as Five Weeks for Early-stage Breast Cancer|
|Written by Administrator|
Early-stage breast cancer patients who receive a more intensive course of radiation to their whole breast over three weeks is as effective as the standard, less intensive five-week whole breast radiation and offers patients more convenience at a lower cost, thereby providing a better quality of life, according to a randomized, long-term study presented September 22, 2008, in the plenary session at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 50th Annual Meeting in Boston.
The cost of this shorter treatment, called accelerated hypofractionated whole breast irradiation, is two-thirds of the cost of the standard whole breast radiation. It is also less expensive then other new approaches such as partial breast irradiation.
"There has been renewed interest in hypofractioned whole breast irradiation, due to the potential radiation advantages, patient convenience, quality of life and lower costs. However, long-term effects were a potential concern," Timothy Whelan, M.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, said. "We were surprised that the risk of local recurrence and side effects for women treated with accelerated whole breast irradiation was so low even at 12 years. Our study shows that this treatment should be offered to select women treated with early-stage breast cancer."
Many women with early-stage breast cancer are able to undergo breast conserving therapy to keep their breast after treatment. Typically, this means they first have surgery to remove the cancer (called a lumpectomy) followed by a course of radiation therapy to kill any cancer cells that may remain. The standard whole breast radiation therapy treatment takes approximately 15 minutes every day, Monday through Friday, for five weeks.
Between April 1993 and September 1996, researchers randomly assigned 1,234 women to be treated with either accelerated whole breast irradiation or standard whole breast irradiation. These women were followed for 12 years to determine if accelerated whole breast radiation was as effective as the standard breast cancer treatment. At 10 years after treatment, breast cancer returned locally in 6.2 percent of breast cancer patients treated with the accelerated radiation therapy, compared to 6.7 percent for those patients treated with standard therapy. Both groups of patients also had a good or excellent cosmetic outcome from the radiation treatments.
"This shorter treatment may not be for everyone, however, I would encourage women whose breast cancer is caught early to talk to their oncologist to see if they are a good candidate for this shorter therapy," Dr. Whelan added.
For more information on radiation therapy for breast cancer, visit http://newswise.com/articles/view/544332/www.rtanswers.org.
Cancer (medical term: malignant neoplasm) is the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth (division beyond the normal limits), invasion (intrusion on and destruction of adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood). These three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, do not invade or metastasize. Most cancers form a tumor but some, like leukemia, do not. The branch of medicine concerned with the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer is oncology.
Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start - for example, cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer; cancer that begins in basal cells of the skin is called basal cell carcinoma.Cancer types can be grouped into broader categories. The main categories of cancer include:
Today, millions of people are living with cancer or have had cancer. The risk of developing most types of cancer can be reduced by changes in a person's lifestyle, for example, by quitting smoking, limiting time in the sun, being physically active, and eating a better diet. Half of all men and one-third of all women in the US will develop cancer during their lifetimes.Although doctors often cannot explain why one person develops cancer and another does not, research shows that certain risk factors increase the chance that a person will develop cancer. Nearly all cancers are caused by abnormalities in the genetic material of the transformed cells. These abnormalities may be due to the effects of carcinogens, such as tobacco smoke, radiation, chemicals, or viruses, bacteria, and certain hormones. Other cancer-promoting genetic abnormalities may be randomly acquired through errors in DNA replication, or are inherited, and thus present in all cells from birth. Other common risk factors for cancer include:
About Breast CancerBreast cancer is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that starts from cells of the breast. The disease occurs mostly in women, but men can get breast cancer too. In the U.S., it affects one in eight women. There are many types of breast cancer, though some of them are very rare. Sometimes a breast tumor can be a combination of these types and to have a mixture of invasive and in situ cancer. The most common types of breast cancer are:
|< Prev||Next >|
Contact Our News Editors
| Back to Front Page
|| List of all Health and Medical Sections
|Diseases and Conditions|
|Health and Medical|
|Mind, Body, Spirit|
|Natural Medicine/Natural Healing|
|General Nutrition Articles|
|Latest Health and Medicine Studies|
|Vitamins and Supplements|
A to Z Health: