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Radiation treatment after surgery improves survival for elderly women with early-stage breast cancer
Date:10/30/2012

the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a researcher at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, notes that the data also showed that the use of adjuvant radiation decreased as the women grew older. Eighty percent of women age 70-74 received radiation compared with 61 percent of women age 80-84.

"Breast radiation is the standard of care following lumpectomy for early-stage breast cancer, but previous research suggested that it helped to prevent the cancer from returning in the treated breast but has no impact on survival in older women," Dr. Feigenberg says. "As a result, some elderly women may not have been offered radiation therapy as part of their breast cancer treatment. We wanted to look at a large, population based database to determine if radiotherapy does offer some benefits in terms of survival, and we found that it does."

Breast cancer patients typically have radiation treatments five days a week for six weeks following surgery, to prevent the cancer from recurring.

E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says, "Breast cancer is a very common problem for older women, with more than half of the women diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. over the age of 65. Many of them have early-stage cancers, which can removed with a lumpectomy. This large-scale study provides convincing evidence that adjuvant radiation therapy should also be offered to these older patients."

The researchers analyzed data from the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) registry, which is maintained by the National Cancer Institute. They identified 29,949 women, from 70 to 84 years old, who were diagnosed with early-stage (T1 N0 M0) ER-positive breast cancer between 1990 and 2009 and had limited surgery. Seventy-six percent of the patient
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Contact: Karen Warmkessel
kwarmkessel@umm.edu
41-032-889-194-104-041-53
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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