New rapid breast cancer treatment takes only FIVE DAYS instead of the standard three weeks
- An NHS study shows that a five-day course of radiotherapy lasts no less than three weeks
- The high dose has proven to be as safe as the standard breast cancer treatment
- Hospitals use the accelerated regimen because it reduces exposure to coronavirus
- Here’s how you can help people affected by Covid-19
Nearly 35,000 breast cancer patients each year will benefit from a new rapid approach to radiotherapy.
A large NHS study shows that a five-day course is just as good as the standard three-week treatment.
Treatment of women with high-dose radiotherapy for five days was found to be as effective and safe as using lower doses for 15 days.
Hospitals have already started to introduce the new accelerated regimen, as it also reduces exposure to coronavirus and reduces the burden on the NHS.
Professor Nick Lemoine, of the National Institute for Health Research, supported the study, which shows that five days of radiotherapy is as good as three weeks of breast cancer
Every year in the UK, around 34,700 women undergo radiotherapy for breast cancer – 63 percent of all patients with the tumors.
The procedure is given after a tumor has been surgically removed in women and is intended to eradicate the remaining cancer cells to prevent them from returning.
The traditional technique involves daily radiotherapy sessions in the hospital – Monday through Friday – for three weeks. Experts say the latest findings will lead to a rapid change.
It usually takes months for another approach to filter through the NHS. However, hospitals are currently desperate for measures to reduce the number of visits to patients.
In total, 97 NHS hospitals were involved in the trial involving 4,000 women and it was led by the Institute of Cancer Research in London.
Institute professor Judith Bliss said, “No one would want to go to hospital for three weeks of radiotherapy if they can get the same benefit within one week.”
There were 97 hospitals in the trial that involved 4,000 women and were run by the Institute of Cancer Research in London. The Institute’s Professor Judith Bliss supported the process
In the trial, a third of the women received the standard schedule of 15 daily doses of radiotherapy, with each session comprising 2.7 Gray – a unit of radiation.
The remaining patients were divided into two groups, each receiving five treatments per week. A group received 5.2 gray and a group received 5.4.
The scientists then followed the patients for five years and found that the chances of breast cancer returning were nearly identical for each group. Side effects were also similar.
They have now suggested that the five-day schedule, with 5.2 grayed out per dose, should be considered the new best standard of care.
Professor Nick Lemoine of the National Institute for Health Research, who funded the trial, said, “This study shows how innovation can be both clinical and cost effective.”
The findings were published in the journal The Lancet.