Breast Ca: Boomers, Standard Radiation Best
A new study of older women with breast cancer showed that brachytherapy, a treatment that involves an implanted radioactive source, was not only no better than whole breast irradiation in terms of survival rates but also raised the incidence of complications.
Medicare patients were the participants in the research done by Benjamin D. Smith, MD of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and colleagues and reported in the May 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to MedPage Today, the researchers looked at data "from the entire fee-for-service Medicare population, which included 92,735 women, age 67 or older, with incident invasive breast cancer. They were diagnosed from 2003 to 2007, treated with lumpectomy, and followed through 2008. Among these women, the 6,952 treated with brachytherapy had higher 5-year incidence of subsequent mastectomy."
The team noted that "Although these results await validation in the prospective setting, they also prompt caution over widespread application of breast brachytherapy outside the study setting."