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Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation for DCIS Breast Cancer Patients

Posted Mar 18 2011 10:33am
Radiation therapy for breast cancer can be done in a number of different ways.  Accelerated partial breast irradiation is a newer form of breast cancer radiation therapy that is typically completed in 5-7 days, compared to 5-7 weeks for whole breast irradiation.  One form of accelerated partial breast irradiation is known as Mammosite .  This procedure typically is done by inserting a balloon catheter inside the area where the breast cancer tumor was removed by lumpectomy and then the radiation dose is delivered through the catheter directly to the site where the breast tumor was found. Early research into the safety and effectiveness of accelerated partial breast irradiation has been mostly positive.

A new breast cancer research study published in the journal Cancer examined the recurrence of breast cancer in the same breast (called "ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence") after treatment with MammoSite accelerated partial breast irradiation.  For this study, 70 patients with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) were treated with lumpectomy followed by accelerated partial breast irradiation.  41 of these breast cancer patients had low to intermediate grade DCIS with a tumor size between 0.3 and 2.4 cm; the other 29 patients had high grade DCIS with tumor sizes less than 1 cm.  After an average follow-up period of about 4.5 years, the study investigators reported that
  • The 5-year rate for breast cancer recurrence in the same breast was 0% in low to intermediate grade DCIS patients compared to a 6.1% rate of breast cancer recurrence seen in a separate trial where radiation was not given.
  • In the high grade DCIS patients, recurrence was 5.3% after accelerated partial breast irradiation, which was much lower that than the 15.3% rate of recurrence in the separate study where radiation therapy was not given.
  • Contralateral breast cancer recurrence (recurrence in the opposite breast) was 0% in the low to intermediate grade DCIS patients and 5.6% in the high grade DCIS patients.
This study continues to confirm the benefits of accelerated partial breast irradiation as an effective and safe form of radiation therapy that reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence in women eligible for this procedure.  Because accelerated partial breast irradiation is done internally instead of externally, it has been reported that the side effects are substantially reduced and that cosmetic appearance is improved.  This is great news for women eligible for this form of treatment as it could lead to a better post-treatment quality of life.

To learn about diet and lifestyle choices to reduce your breast cancer risk, read my FREE book FIGHT NOW: EAT & LIVE PROACTIVELY AGAINST BREAST CANCER . Please recommend to anyone interested in breast cancer, breast cancer treatment, and breast cancer symptoms.
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