Radiation May Improve Overall Survival in Breast Cancer Patients

Posted by Rheta Mankin on September 30th, 2015

Increasing breast cancer survival rates has long been the focus of medical professionals when treating this disease. New research indicates that the use of regional node irradiation may have strong effects over the long run.

The new study, conducted by the European Organisation for Researcher and Treatment of Cancer, involved a median follow-up of 10.9 years. The study found the overall survival was 82.3 percent for women who underwent regional irradiation versus 80.7 percent for those who did not undergo this additional treatment.

To arrive at the findings, researchers conducted a randomized trial involving 4,004 patients. The study was conducted between 1996 and 2004. It focused on women with stage I, II or III breast cancer. In addition to discovering that regional node radiation was beneficial for increasing survival rates, researchers also found that disease-free survival was also significantly increased.

While the benefits of radiation were only seen in modest numbers, researchers believe the numbers will become more dramatic as time goes on. With that in mind, they intend to follow study participants through continued monitoring for up to a 20-year median follow-up.

Breast cancer is a leading cancer killer in the United States with an estimated 231,000 new cases diagnosed annually. Another 60,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in its earliest, or in situ, stage. Roughly 40,000 women die in America each year from breast cancer.

While the findings out of Europe indicate regional irradiation may increase survival and cancer-free survival rates, women are urged to carefully explore their treatment options with their healthcare providers. The best advice is often targeted to the specific patients based on the cancer itself and the stage in question. Other treatments, including surgery and chemotherapy may also be indicated. Women who are at risk for breast cancer are also urged to go in for routine screenings. This disease, when caught early, is often highly treatable.

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Rheta Mankin

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Rheta Mankin
Joined: July 2nd, 2015
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