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ASTRO: Short-Course Radiation Acceptable for Breast Cancer

Increased daily dose to breast and lumpectomy site reduces course by up to two weeks

THURSDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- In women treated for early stage breast cancer, the usual course of six to seven weeks of external-beam radiation following lumpectomy can be safely reduced to four weeks, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Philadelphia.

Gary Freedman, M.D., of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a phase II study of 75 women who received a dose of radiation with intensity-modulated radiation therapy to the entire breast for four weeks. During the treatment, the researchers increased the daily radiation dose each day to the breast and lumpectomy site.

The researchers found that the boost could be worked into a four-week course that had a similar side-effects profile as the longer, standard treatment. They also found that patients reported acceptable side effects of breast or arm pain and high satisfaction with cosmetic results.

"We know the standard regimen of daily radiation five days a week for six to seven weeks is a tremendous time commitment for women who are often still working or providing family care or both," Freedman said in a statement. "Our goal in this research was to reduce the burden of treatment time while maintaining a high level of quality-of-life issues."


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