New Alternative to Radiotherapy Emerges

A new alternative to radiotherapy could change the face of treatment plans for breast cancer patients everywhere, cutting back on both risk and time spent in recovery. Essentially, the new treatment uses a one-shot technique to replace weeks of post-surgical radiotherapy with one targeted shot of radiation delivered from inside the breast itself. According to BBC,  the National Health Service has estimated  that the treatment, which is only effective if used before the tumor has spread to other parts of the body, could benefit roughly 36,000 people and provide a more cost-effective treatment than we've seen in the past.

Under current treatment methods, individuals with qualifying types of breast cancer would first have to undergo surgical removal of their tumor and then at least 15 rounds of radiation treatment. The new method involves inserting a probe into the breast immediately after tumor removal and delivering a shot of radiation for roughly 30 minutes. This localized and concentrated form of treatment, in addition to saving time, is also thought to reduce potential damage to the heart, lungs and other surrounding organs from prolonged exposure to radiation.

While the treatment is still very new, and therefore without extensive data, test results from treatment of more than 2,000 individuals do suggest a comparable level of effectiveness to traditional radiation treatment.

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