7 Jun 2010

New breast cancer treatment shows good results

6:58 am on 7 June 2010

A new technique for treating breast cancer could in the future eliminate the need for weeks of radiotherapy.

The findings of an international study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, suggest that one dose of radiotherapy inside the breast during surgery is just as effective as weeks of external radiotherapy.

The technique was tested on more than 2000 patients across nine countries, the BBC reports, with half the patients receiving 15 to 35 doses of conventional radiotherapy and the other half having a single dose while still in the operating theatre.

The new method was just as effective at preventing cancer recurring over four years.

While optimistic about their findings, the researchers behind the study emphasise that they're only applicable to women with types of breast cancer similar to those in the trial - and that several more years' data will be needed before the treatment can be widely adopted.