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ASTRO: Modulated Radiation Spares Healthy Breast Tissue

Allows better beam control to reduce burns during radiation therapy

THURSDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which allows better control of beam intensity to spare healthy tissue, reduces the risk of developing skin burns by threefold in women with breast cancer compared with conventional radiation, according to study findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Philadelphia.

Jean-Philippe Pignol, M.D., Ph.D., from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Canada, and colleagues randomly assigned 358 patients with breast cancer to receive either standard radiation therapy or IMRT to the breast. Patients were observed for six weeks after treatment.

The researchers found that women receiving IMRT were three times less likely to have severe skin burns. The treatment also significantly reduced burns in women with large breasts, who are at greater risk.

"Using IMRT, we are able to dramatically reduce the painful side effects of radiation, thereby improving the patient's quality of life," Pignol explained in a statement. "Patients should be aware that breast IMRT has fewer side effects than standard radiation therapy and is now widely available."


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