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Posted by on Jul 3, 2018 in Breast cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study aimed to find out if the quality of life after treatment was different in women who had whole breast irradiation (radiation treatment to the whole breast) for early breast cancer compared to women who had accelerated partial breast irradiation (short radiation treatment to part of the breast) with brachytherapy.

The authors found that there was no difference in quality of life between the two treatments.

Some background

Whole breast irradiation involves exposing the entire breast to radioactive therapy to reduce tumor size. Partial breast irradiation involves targeting the radiation to the area where the tumor is. Interstitial brachytherapy involves tubes being inserted into the breast tissue so that radioactive seeds can be placed near the tumor. Previous trials have shown that there is no difference in survival between these two methods of treatment. 

Methods & findings

This study took place over 5 years and recruited over 1000 women. All the patients had breast conserving therapy with radiotherapy starting 12 weeks after surgery. One group received daily irradiation of the whole breast for 5 weeks. The patients in the partial breast irradiation group were given high dose brachytherapy, which took 4-5 days.

Five years after treatment, there was no significant difference in quality of life between the two groups. The only slight difference was that the patients who had whole breast irradiation reported more breast symptoms than the partial irradiation group.

The bottom line

The study concluded that there is no difference in quality of life between whole breast irradiation and partial breast irradiation with brachytherapy.

The fine print

The response rate to the quality of life questionnaire was quite low, which might mean that the results are not quite correct. Pain was not measured well in this study.

What’s next?

This study may ease the fears of some women who are frightened about their quality of life after their treatment.

Published By :

The Lancet. Oncology

Date :

Apr 20, 2018

Original Title :

Quality-of-life results for accelerated partial breast irradiation with interstitial brachytherapy versus whole-breast irradiation in early breast cancer after breast-conserving surgery (GEC-ESTRO): 5-year results of a randomised, phase 3 trial.

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