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Breast radiation improved

15th November 2006

09082006_radioactivesymbol1.jpgRadiation specialists in Canada have found that a new radiation technique for breast cancer patients reduces painful side-effects normally associated with radiation therapy.

A recent study found that patients receiving intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) after surgery were three times less likely to have severe skin reaction from the treatment, compared with those undergoing standard radiation therapy.

The current standard of care for breast cancer is surgical removal of the cancer, followed by radiation to the breast to kill any remaining cells. The standard radiation technique uses two opposite radiation beams on the whole breast to target the cancer and can cause burns.

Using IMRT, however, radiation oncologists are able to control the intensity of each beam to better spare nearby healthy tissue, thereby minimizing the risk of too much radiation on certain parts of the breast, and the severe skin reactions which result.

The treatment was able to significantly reduce this occurrence in women with large breasts, who are more likely to have severe skin reactions.

In this study, 358 patients were randomly assigned to receive either the standard breast radiation treatment or breast IMRT and were observed during and for six weeks after treatment.


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