New Treatment for Breast Cancer
Radiation may become a little easier of thousands of breast cancer patients: Doctors now can target cancer-killing beams just at the tumor site instead of the whole breast, shortening the usual six-week treatment down to five days.
Currently, a major
study is under way to prove whether the easier therapy is as effective
as the old-fashioned kind, and if so, who is a good candidate and which
of three five-day methods works best.
Specialist, however, warn that women must carefully weigh the new options, and that the best course for those who want the shorter therapy is to enroll in that study or several others testing the new approaches.
Early stage studies suggest the five-day approaches can work well for at least some patients, but too few women have been tracked for long enough to be sure the partial-breast radiation works as well as standard therapy in preventing the cancer's return.
to understand where we're at," cautions Dr. Frank Vicini of William
Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, who pioneered the five-day approach
and is leading the new NCI study.
where thin tubes are inserted through the breast and pellets of radioactive
iodine are temporarily placed in the tubes twice a day.
focused just to the tumor site.
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new machine, Xoft Inc.'s Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy System, to deliver partial-breast radiation through a miniature X-ray system, potentially easier for doctors to handle.
To learn more about breast cancer and its treatments, please visit the following websites.
Radiation Therapy System
Treatment Centers of America