Shorter course of radiation for breast cancer offers patients important benefit
the ONA take:
Researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report that a shorter course of whole breast radiation therapy for early stage breast cancer results in less toxicity and improved quality of life compared with a longer course of treatment.
They believe this information should be included in shared decision-making discussions with breast cancer patients.
Radiation treatment historically is given in smaller doses over a longer period of time (conventionally fractionated whole breast irradiation [CF-WBI]), rather than higher doses of radiation administered over a shorter time period (hypofractionated whole breast irradiation [HF-WBI]).
Older studies on the shorter treatment times produced disappointing results; however, the technology used in those studies is now antiquated.
With the use of modern technology, recurrence outcomes and survival rates are now equal yet use of the shorter treatment is slow to catch on.
Participants in the study reported less difficulty in managing their families’ needs, which is a major priority for many women.
The researchers believe their study demonstrates that HF-WBI is not just an option for patients; it should be considered as a preferred starting point in discussions with patients who need whole breast radiation. In addition, organizations such as ASTRO and NCCN should consider expanding their recommendations to include HF-WBI.
Shorter course of whole breast radiation therapy for early stage breast cancer results in less toxicity and improved quality of life.
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