Breast conserving surgery followed by radiation therapy is a goodoption for women with early-stage breast cancer who have breastimplants, according to a study presented October 16, 2005, at theAmerican Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 47th AnnualMeeting in Denver.
The new findings challenge past studies that showed deliveringradiation to a breast with an implant in place causes significantproblems in the implant, resulting in poor cosmetic results.
"Past research was based on a small sample of patients andolder radiation techniques," said Rosalyn Morrell, M.D., lead author ofthis Mayo Clinic study. "Therefore, we investigated a larger group ofwomen treated with radiation using newer techniques that refuted thereports of poor cosmetic outcome among patients."
Most women with early-stage breast cancer are able to undergo breastconservation surgery to keep their breast after treatment. Typically,this means that they first have surgery to remove the cancer (alumpectomy), followed by a course of radiation therapy to kill anycancer cells that may remain. This approach is just as effective as amastectomy in treating the cancer and is preferred by many women.
More women today are opting to have cosmetic breast implants. As womenage, their risk of breast cancer increases, so a fraction of thesewomen will eventually develop breast cancer. These are the patients whowould be most interested in preserving their breasts and avoidingmastectomy.
Between 1994 and 2004, researchers reviewed the records of 26 breastcancer patients with previously augmented breasts who were treated withbreast conservation surgery and radiation at the Mayo Clinic. Allpatients had their implants in place before their breast cancerdiagnosis. Eighty-five percent of patients followed over a three-yearperiod had favorable cosmetic results following radiation therapy. Noneof the patients in the study suffered a relapse of their cancer.
For more information on radiation therapy for breast cancer, please visit www.rtanswers.org.
ASTRO is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with morethan 8,000 members who specialize in treating patients with radiationtherapies. As a leading organization in radiation oncology, biology andphysics, the Society is dedicated to the advancement of the practice ofradiation oncology by promoting excellence in patient care, providingopportunities for educational and professional development, promotingresearch and disseminating research results and representing radiationoncology in a rapidly evolving socioeconomic healthcare environment.
The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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