Radiotherapy alongside lumpectomy may offer better breast cancer treatment

14th April 2011

Research conducted at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in America has shown that a dose of radiotherapy at the same time as a lumpectomy may provide better and more precise treatment for early breast cancer patients.

Physicians at the hospital have been trialling the new method, which is aimed at reducing the risk of cancer recurrence for women who are unable to undergo six weeks of radiation treatment following surgery, as they are too busy or too far away.

Traditional treatment involves women waiting four weeks after surgery before beginning a six-week course of radiation therapy, but with this treatment the whole does of radiotherapy is administered at the same time as the surgery.

Kevin Bethke, MD, surgical oncologist at Northwestern, said: "By eliminating the geographic and time constraints of traditional radiotherapy, intraoperative radiation can make breast conservation surgery a realistic option for more women."

Researchers have pointed out that this method does not necessarily provide a replacement for traditional treatment, but it is an alternative.

Side effects of radiation treatment can include tiredness, breast soreness and discomfort.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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