Dr. Kenyon Meadows, board-certified radiation oncologist with Southeast Georgia Health System
Cancer Care Centers, and I’d like to take a few minutes today to discuss Hypofractionation
for breast cancer. For many decades the standard recommendation for women
after a lumpectomy to treat breast cancer was six and a half weeks of
radiation treatment. While this provides a significant benefit in terms
of preventing the cancer from returning, for some patients, the inconvenience
of traveling back and forth could be a significant burden.
Fortunately, through many clinical trials, we have discovered that there
are some patients with particularly early-stage breast cancers for which
much less radiation can be given.
This can occur with either a three and a half week course of radiation
to the whole breast or an even shorter course of treatment to a smaller
portion of the breast.
In appropriately-selected patients - those with less aggressive cancers
that have not spread to the lymph nodes - both of these alternative approaches
provided the same benefit as the six and a half week course of radiation
but within a much shorter time frame, often with fewer short-term side
effects, and producing equal cosmetic outcomes.
As always, a detailed evaluation and discussion with your doctor is required
to find out if you're a candidate for a shorter course of breast radiation.
If you have follow-up questions or comments, please submit them in the
comment box below. Thanks!