Higher doses of radiation over a small period are more effective than long-term course. It causes less toxic effects and more improved quality of life
Breast cancer patients are mostly treated with small doses of radiation for a long period of time. But this is not the most efficient method available.
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A new study, published in the medical journal JAMA Oncology, suggests that short, intense course of radiation therapy is more effective than longer radiation treatment in early breast cancer. It causes less side-effects and improved quality of life compared to the long course of radiation.
For the study, 287 women of 40 years of age or above with early breast cancer were recruited. They were split into two groups. 149 were treated with CF-WBI and 138 with Hyprofractionaed-Whole Breast Irradiation (HF-WBI). All the patients were observed for a minimum of six months.
Significant improvement in comfort was noticed in HF-WBI patients compared to CF-WBI. Patients who were treated with HF-WBI have lower rate of acute toxic effects. Those patients reported less fatigue, less pain and less swelling in comparison to CF-WBI. They were also able to meet their family needs more easily.
“Patients who received the shorter course reported less difficulty in caring for their family needs. This is a major priority for women undergoing breast cancer radiation,” said Dr. Simona Shaitelman, the lead author of the study and assistant professor of Radiation Oncology. “Most are busy working mothers, working inside or outside the home and are juggling a number of priorities.”
Long-term radiation is the standard treatment for breast cancer right now. It is advisable to be replaced with acute, short-term course of radiation. It’s the better option when it comes to early stage of breast cancer.
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“This study fills in a missing piece in the literature,” said Benjamin Smith, the co-author of the study. “No longer do I regard the shorter course of treatment as just an option for patients, but rather the preferred starting point for discussion with patients if they need whole breast radiation.”