Monday, March 14, 2011

Study: Radiation Works After Breast Cancer Surgery

Radiation and tamoxifen treatments reduce the risk of cancer recurrence in women who’ve had non-invasive breast lumps removed, according to a new study from Allegheny General Hospital.

Not only do radiation and tamoxifen reduce cancer recurrence, but the study also notes women who’ve had these treatments have a lower death rate than those who opt out – even when the cancer does come back.

Principal investigator Dr. Thomas Julian says adding radiation therapy following lumpectomy surgery reduced cancer recurrence in his study group by about 53%. He says most women with breast cancer could have the therapy, but many don’t take it due to bias against it in patients and physicians.

Julian says adding tamoxifen treatment to the patients’ therapy reduced cancer recurrence by an additional 32%; however, that treatment only works in 80- 85% of patients, depending on the type of cancer they have.

Julian says while many oncologists believe radiation therapy is overly diagnosed, the 15-year study shows a clear benefit to women who’ve had the treatment.

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