A more intense course of radiation after a lumpectomy may be safe for breast cancer patients say researchers based on findings of a recent study. Standard treatment for women with breast cancer usually involves six or seven weeks of radiation daily after undergoing surgery , however for most women the length of time for radiation treatment is a major inconvenience leading them to choose mastectomy instead of breast conservation.
Researchers studied women who received a four-week course of radiation therapy, with an incorporated boost. An incorporated boost is a higher dose of radiation that is given to the site of the original tumor where the lumpectomy was performed. This boost usually prolongs radiation for one to two weeks. However, in this study, researchers gave the boost each day during the same four weeks of therapy.
The shorter radiation schedule has shown to cause skin side effects but researchers say the level was milder than expected and is comparable to the side effects seen in studies of conventional six weeks of radiation. Researchers say they are currently collecting data on tumor recurrence and quality of life in the patients who underwent the four-week course of radiation therapy.