How Long Should Women Receive Radiation Treatment?

Posted By on December 15th, 2014 at 9:42 am | 1691 comments.

A recent article in The Journal of the American Medical Association studied the use of radiation after a lumpectomy. This study was conducted by researchers Ezekial J. Emanuel and Justin E. Bekelman of the University of Pennsylvania and other colleagues. The group set out to examine a study done in 2011 which recommends shorter, more intense radiation treatments for women who were older than 50 that had early-stage cancers. What did they find?

Radiation-for-PL-2This recent study looked at two different groups of women: those who doctors recommended to receive shorter treatment (3-4 weeks of radiation) and a group of women who were younger and either had chemotherapy or more advanced cancer (5-7 weeks of radiation).
Both courses of treatment were found to have the same effectiveness, but the shorter version saved time for patients and saved money for the health care system and insurers.  Doctors did not readily adopt the new recommendations because it went against years of practice in the field.  In the 1970s and 1980s, the equipment was much less sophisticated and a shorter, more intense therapy burned women’s skin and scarred their breasts, but with the improved equipment and methodology of today, studies have found that the cosmetic results of the shorter therapy were just as good.

Overall, the study found that the use of the shorter therapy had increased from 2008 to 2013.
To read the complete article, click here.

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