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Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteShorter Course of Radiation Therapy is Safe for Patients with Early-Stage Breast Cancer who Have Undergone Mastectomy and Reconstruction

The shorter course also had equivalent physical side-effects but substantially reduced life disruption and financial burden for patients.

A recent study has revealed that a shorter course of radiation therapy can be just as effective for patients with early-stage breast cancer who have undergone mastectomy and reconstruction. This finding could significantly reduce the life disruption and financial burden for patients.

HCN Medical Memo
This recent study indicates that a shorter, three-week course of hypofractionated radiation therapy is as effective as the conventional five-week course for early-stage breast cancer patients post-mastectomy. It offers the same protection against recurrence without increasing side effects, while significantly reducing life disruption and financial burden for patients. This could lead to a paradigm shift in post-mastectomy care, improving patient satisfaction and adherence to treatment, and prompting us to consider more patient-centric approaches in our practice. As healthcare professionals, it’s crucial that we remain open to such innovative strategies that not only effectively treat the disease but also enhance the overall well-being of our patients.

Key Points

  • The study was conducted by researchers at Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center.
  • The research found that a shorter course of radiation therapy after mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery provides the same protection against breast cancer recurrence.
  • The results of the multicenter randomized clinical trial – the FABREC Study – were presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting in San Diego, CA, on October 1, 2023.
  • Hypofractionated radiation therapy provides a higher dose of radiation in each session and is completed in three weeks while conventional radiation therapy delivers a lower dose over five weeks.
  • This is the first randomized trial comparing a three-week course of radiation therapy to a five-week course in patients with breast cancer who have had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.

“Our trial results suggest that hypofractionation can safely be used in this setting without compromising efficacy or increasing side effects.”
– Rinaa S. Punglia, MD, MPH, senior author and radiation oncologist at Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center

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