Actually, this sounds more like just an extra dose of therapy-level radiation.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Adam McLean [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Thursday November 08, 2001 1:16 PM
> Subject: [cdn-nucl-l] (no subject)
> The research is finally catching up to theory on low-dose
> radiation treatment,
> Jerry! :)
> Radiation Boost Wards Off Breast Cancer's Return
> By Merritt McKinney
> NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - An extra ``boost'' of radiation
> may nearly halve
> the risk of cancer recurrence in women with early breast
> cancer who undergo
> surgery that spares most of the breast, according to the
> results of an
> international study.
> So far, investigators have followed the women for 5 years,
> which they believe
> is not long enough to evaluate the long-term effects of an
> extra dose of
> radiation. But the approach seems appropriate in women who
> develop cancer at
> age 50 or younger, who benefited most from extra radiation in
> the study, the
> researchers note.
> During a lumpectomy, a surgeon removes a tumor and some
> surrounding breast
> tissue. Research has shown that zapping the entire breast
> after this breast-
> conserving treatment lowers the risk that cancer will return.
> But little is
> known about the effects of an additional dose of radiation
> that is targeted at
> the site of the tumor.
> In the present study, more than 5,000 women with early-stage
> breast cancer
> underwent a lumpectomy and then received radiation directed
> at the entire
> breast. In addition to standard radiation therapy, half of
> the women also
> received additional radiation treatment directed at the part
> of the breast
> where the tumor had been.
> During 5 years of follow-up, women who received the extra
> dose of radiation
> were less likely to have cancer recur at the site of the
> tumor, Dr. Harry
> Bartelink, of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam,
> and colleagues
> report in the November 8th issue of The New England Journal
> of Medicine (news -
> web sites). The risk of so-called local recurrence was 41%
> lower in women given
> a boost of radiation.
> Although the reduction in risk is ``substantial,''
> Bartelink's team points out
> that the benefits of additional radiation depend on each
> woman's risk of
> recurrence, which varies. For example, the research team
> found that women who
> were age 40 or younger benefited the most from an extra dose
> of radiation,
> experiencing a 54% drop in the risk of recurrence.
> ``In our opinion, the absolute benefit of the additional dose
> justifies its use
> in patients 50 years old or younger,'' the authors conclude.
> Still, Bartelink and his colleagues point out that 5 years is
> not long enough
> to evaluate the long-term effects of radiation. They plan to
> continue following
> the women for at least 10 years to see whether extra
> radiation causes any
> problems, such as an increased risk of second cancers.
> The study is a sort of fine-tuning of radiation treatment for
> women with breast
> cancer, according to Dr. Carla I. Falkson, the director of
> the breast program
> at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive
> Cancer Center.
> In an interview with Reuters Health, however, she noted that
> there was no
> difference in death rates between the two groups. And as the
> authors mention in
> the report, Falkson pointed out the need for further
> follow-up to determine
> whether an additional boost of radiation causes additional
> long-term side
> The higher dose of radiation was expected to increase the
> scar tissue at the
> site, although the researchers found no major increase in
> scarring due to the
> dose increase. However, the cosmetic results overall were
> somewhat less
> positive in women who received an additional dose of radiation.
> Bartelink and his colleagues conclude that the ``reduction in
> the incidence of
> local recurrences associated with the additional dose far
> outweighs the slight
> increase in the poorer cosmetic outcome, especially in
> patients younger than 50
> years of age.''
> SOURCE: The New England Journal of Medicine 2001;345:1378-1387.
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