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Shorter Radiation Course Appears Effective for Early Breast Cancer

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Posted September 20, 2013

In women with early breast cancer, three weeks of high-dose radiation is as effective as the current standard — five weeks of lower-dose treatment, British researchers say.

A short course of radiation given in larger doses — an approach called hypofractionated radiation — is safe and effective and causes less damage to healthy surrounding tissue, according to the 10-year results of two British trials. The short course is also more convenient and less expensive.

“For most indications, a three-week course of postoperative radiotherapy can be recommended as standard of care for women with early breast cancer following breast conservation surgery or mastectomy,” said study researcher Dr. John Yarnold, a professor of clinical oncology at the Institute of Cancer Research in London.

“Three weeks of treatment is gentler on the healthy tissues without loss of anti-cancer effect, so it represents an improvement for women with early breast cancer,” he added.

The report, published Sept. 19 in The Lancet Oncology, may not change current practice immediately, however, said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Read more at: MedlinePlus

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