WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR RADIATION THERAPY?
Breast cancer requires surgical intervention for long-term prevention and cure. Either a mastectomy is required which comprises of complete removal of the afflicted breast or a breast-conserving surgery is done which comprises of removing only the afflicted section of the breast. Radiotherapy post mastectomy is advised only to patients in whom the chances of a local relapse due to a spread of the disease to the lymph nodesis expected, whereas patients who undergo breast conserving surgery must definitely undergo radiotherapy too.
Numerous studies have been undertaken to establish a sure connection between the local recurrence of breast cancer after breast conserving surgeryand radiotherapy.Undoubtedly at every cancer treatment center breast cancer treatment has changed rapidly since the trials began but still researchers are of the opinion that such studies can provide a peek into new dimensions of breast cancer treatment in the future and reassert the benefits of radiotherapy for patients of breast cancer.
WHAT DO STATISTICS SAY?
Many studies so far have underlined the importance of radiotherapy in treatment of breast cancer at cancer hospitals. They conclude that radiation therapy is beneficial in preventing cancer from coming back and also that its results are complementary in the systematized surgical management of breast cancer. Some figures are:
Within just12 months of radiotherapy breast cancer relapse is unlikely In the first decade or so this trend remains 10 years 35% of the women with no exposure to radiotherapy had a recurrence.Comparatively only 19% of those who did reported to have a recurrence in the same time span.Taking into consideration a longer period to study correlation between radiotherapy and breast cancer fatalities it was found that in 15 years 25% of the women who did not undergo radiotherapy died from breast cancer Comparatively, only 21% of those who had received radiotherapy died due to breast cancer.
MAJOR STUDIES AND TRIALS
Researchers from Oxford University in a study suggested that in cases that received radiation treatment post surgical intervention for breast cancer the incidents of fatalities also were reduced by about one -sixth,and it also reduced the possibility of the cancer reappearing in the next order to analyze thoroughly the correlation between radiotherapy and breast cancer recurrence a study was conducted by the Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) .It followed the cases for almost a decade of patients who had been part of 17 trials of this most extensive study of the effectiveness of radiotherapy in preventing the recurrence of breast cancer studying around ten thousand patients published its findings in the reputed Lancet Medical Journal.
EXCEPTIONS TO GENERAL TRENDS
Experts suggest that all estimates and trends are based on data from thousands of women but actual risk for every individual may be variable and hence sometimes even contrary to the general trends .Patients who are in a younger age -group have been found to be more responsive to radiation therapy for no apparent reason, while older patients witness that the efficacy is slightly reduced though the treatment is not totally ineffective. The proportional benefits do not alter with age.Fewer benefits from radiotherapywere seen in patients who were at low risk of recurrence from the onset.
Radiotherapy has been found to reduce the possibility of breast cancer recurrence,however rapid change in technology and variations in outcomes must be constantly considered.