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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | Personals | Yellow Pages  March 13, 2004
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Radiotherapy Improves Survival in Breast Cancer
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(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Omitting radiotherapy after breast-conserving surgery may be associated with higher rates of relapse and mortality, according to a study in the latest issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Investigators analyzed 15 randomized clinical trials of women with early-stage breast cancer who either had breast-conserving surgery alone or surgery followed by radiotherapy. Researchers examined recurrence rates based on information from more than 9,000 women, and mortality information from more than 8,000 women.

Authors of the study calculated that the women who received breast-conserving surgery alone were three-times more likely to have a relapse than women who had the surgery followed by radiotherapy. In addition, the omission of radiotherapy resulted in an 8.6 percent relative excess of deaths. Researchers say radiotherapy should not be omitted except for medical contraindications such as systemic vascular disease or a previous history of irradiation.

Radiotherapy prolongs the length of time women are treated for breast cancer, the treatment can be costly, radiotherapy facilities are not common in all areas, and there are some side effects. For these reasons, several studies have examined the consequences of omitting radiotherapy from the treatment regimen.

In an editorial, researchers from Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada, say there may be a small subset of women with good prognostic factors who do not need to have radiotherapy after surgery. However, this analysis reinforces the view that the large majority of breast-conserving surgery patients should also receive radiotherapy.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2004;96:115-121

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