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.
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.
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
Apr 20, 2018
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