One-week radiotherapy could benefit women with early stage breast cancer

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In a new study, researchers found that a one-week course of radiotherapy in fewer but larger daily doses is as safe and effective as standard three-week therapy for women following surgery for early-stage breast cancer.

The method is being eagerly used by hospitals to help reduce demands on the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research was led by a team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

Women with early-stage breast cancer can be treated with fewer but larger daily doses of radiotherapy delivered in a shorter overall duration compared with the current standard, research finds.

A pioneering study involving more than 4,000 patients evaluated the effectiveness of two different radiotherapy doses each delivered over five days in one week compared with standard radiotherapy currently delivered in 15 doses over three weeks.

The researchers found that delivering a shorter course to women who have undergone surgery for early-stage breast cancer was as safe and effective as the current standard of three weeks.

The findings show that a one-week schedule promises to become a new international standard for women with operable breast cancer requiring radiotherapy.

This has major benefits in terms of convenience and costs for both patients and healthcare services globally at a time when they face increasing challenges.

Researchers are always looking for ways to refine and enhance cancer treatment so we can make it more effective and improve the experience for patients.

No one would want to come up to the hospital for three weeks of radiotherapy if they can get the same benefit in just one week.

The team expects these findings will be incorporated into breast cancer treatment guidelines around the world.

One author of the study is Professor Murray Brunt.

The study is published in The Lancet.

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