Further confirmation of radiation benefits

26 Oct 2011

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) commends the recent paper published in The Lancet confirming that radiation therapy after surgery for early-stage breast cancer patients reduces the risk that the cancer will recur or spread 10 to 15 years following treatment.

Spreading the word that this life-saving treatment will help women keep their breasts and avoid a potentially disfiguring mastectomy while allowing them to live long, cancer-free lives is an important mission of ASTRO, and we applaud the recent manuscript in The Lancet for further bringing light to the issue. The article also featured a commentary by Thomas Buchholz, MD, a radiation oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center and a senior editor of ASTRO's clinical research journal, the International Journal of Radiation Oncology·Biology·Physics.

"The fact that radiation reduces the risk of recurrence in the breast has been demonstrated in multiple studies. This analysis confirms that radiation not only reduces the risk of local recurrence but improves overall cure rates and survival," Bruce Haffty, MD, FASTRO, chairman of radiation oncology at Robert Wood Johnson University Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J., and a member of ASTRO's Breast Cancer Resource Panel, said. "However, many women still do not receive radiation to keep their cancer from returning. I hope this article gives breast cancer patients, their families and caregivers peace of mind when considering cancer treatments."

In the article, the group conducted an analysis of 17 breast cancer studies that included approximately 11,000 breast cancer patients. Results showed that radiation after surgery reduced the recurrence risk by half and the death rate by approximately one-sixth compared to women who had surgery alone.

Currently, lumpectomy plus radiation is the standard treatment for early-stage breast cancer patients. And while the benefits of radiation therapy for these women has been repeatedly proven, many women still do not receive the necessary radiation they need to ensure their breast cancer stays in remission.

We encourage patients to speak with their doctors about every option for treating their breast cancer, including radiation therapy, and we encourage referring physicians to explain to eligible early-stage breast cancer patients that lumpectomy and radiation therapy can cure their cancer and eliminate the need for a mastectomy.


Source: ASTRO