Health Magazine

Older Women, Lumpectomy and Radiation

Posted on the 24 August 2012 by Jean Campbell

radiationNew research, published in the journal Cancer on August 13th, indicates that older women (70-79 years) receiving radiation following a lumpectomy reduce their chances of needing a mastectomy in the future.

These research finding differ from current treatment guidelines that recommend older women with early, estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer that has not spread to the lymph nodes have a lumpectomy to remove the tumor, followed by hormonal therapy for five years (1x daily dose in pill form) but no radiation. These guidelines reflect that the risk of a recurrence is very low in older women compared to younger women. Radiation following a lumpectomy is standard practice for younger women.

Current guidelines are largely based on a 2004 study that found radiation for women in this age group only slightly decreased the odds of cancer recurring compared to receiving only the estrogen-blocking drug Tamoxifen (hormonal therapy).

In the new research study, the authors reviewed the medical records of more than 7,400 women aged 70 to 79 who had a lumpectomy for early-stage, estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer between 1992 and 2002. Almost 90 percent of these women had received radiation after surgery.

After a follow-up period of 10 years, 6.3 percent of women who did not get radiation needed a mastectomy versus only 3.2 percent of women who had received radiation.

“Overall in this group of women, radiation was associated with a decrease in mastectomy,” said study senior author Dr. Benjamin Smith, an Assistant Professor of radiation therapy at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston. “The absolute decrease was small but it was certainly measurable.”

Certain women seemed to benefit more from radiation than others, namely those with high-grade (aggressive) tumors, Smith added.”These are highly aggressive-looking cell types,” said Dr. Philip Bonanno, Director of the Breast program at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, N.Y. “This is a tumor that we know is going to be a bad actor given enough time.”

The study found that radiation was not necessarily helpful for patients 75 years and older who did not have high-grade tumors and whose cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes. Dr. Bonanno stated,  “Women over 75 years of age are not all the same and neither are their cancers.”

Dr. Smith stated. “It’s unclear if the findings will be practice changing. At the very least, he said, the paper should help clarify which older patients would benefit the most from radiation. I view this paper as adding a very nice layer of nuance on top of those guidelines. In our practice group, we’ll be more enthusiastic about radiation in high-grade tumors and less enthusiastic in low-grade tumors, particularly in older women.”

SOURCES: Benjamin D. Smith, M.D., Assistant Professor, Radiation Therapy, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; Philip C. Bonanno, M.D., Director, Breast Program, Northern Westchester Hospital, Mt. Kisco, N.Y.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Dying Games – Steve Robinson

    Dying Games Steve Robinson

    Crime Fiction5*s The genealogical expert Jefferson Tayte is back! I love this series which has taken me back to historical eras I know little about while tellin... Read more

    The 29 April 2017 by   Cleopatralovesbooks
    BOOKS, CULTURE
  • Crushed a Flower with a Footstep

    (Photograph by Abhay Tiwari) Please, talk to me about who you were before the walls were painted blue; Tell me the bruises, the aches, and time just added... Read more

    The 29 April 2017 by   Shantam Sahai
    DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Make My Day . . .

    Make

    Read more

    The 29 April 2017 by   Vickilane
    CREATIVITY, PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Lifestyle: Productive Procrastination

    Lifestyle: Productive Procrastination

    I’ve moaned about it enough, so you’ll all know by know that despite having graduated last summer I’m still studying. I’ve chosen a career path which pretty muc... Read more

    The 29 April 2017 by   Ninegrandstudent
    FASHION, FOOD & DRINK, LIFESTYLE
  • Why I’m Not At the MidAmerica Region Annual Assembly

    I love Chicago. I have family there that I'm normally always looking for a way to be with. And I have friends that I don't see nearly enough. So when I first... Read more

    The 29 April 2017 by   Eastofmidnight
    POLITICS, SOCIETY
  • Lemon Stuffed French Toast

    Lemon Stuffed French Toast

    Whenever I have stale bread I want to make one of two things . . . either I want to make a bread pudding, or I want to make French Toast. Today the French... Read more

    The 29 April 2017 by   Mariealicerayner
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • Safety First And Workout Related Injuries Last

    Safety First Workout Related Injuries Last

    (Image Credit) Like most things in life, exercise can be a dangerous game. It’s very easy to injure yourself while you’re exercising; if you fail to take the... Read more

    The 29 April 2017 by   Peppertan
    FAMILY, HOME

Paperblog Hot Topics

Magazine