Health Discoveries in Breast Cancer

Breast cancer recurrence differs with use of radiation

May 3, 2011
Women with early stage breast cancer who are treated with both surgery and radiation may cut their risk of local recurrences of the disease, but the risk of invasive breast cancer later appears to be greater.

These findings from a University of Southern California study were presented recently before a meeting of the American Society of Breast Surgeons.

"I don't want people to think radiation is bad," said Dr. Janie Weng Grumley, a fellow in breast oncology at the USC's Keck School of Medicine. "We know there is less recurrence with radiation. The patients who got radiation recurred a lot later than the patients who didn't, [but] surgery plus radiation had more invasive recurrence."

More than 1,000 patients with early breast cancer were included in the study, which estimated that the recurrence within 10 years was 30 percent for those who were treated with surgery alone, compared to 18 percent for the surgery and radiation group. Those who experienced a recurrence in the same site averaged 7.5 years later, compared to 4.4 years later for those who had surgery alone.

Hormone therapy, along with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, is among the options for treating breast cancer at the Cancer Institute and hospitals within the North Shore-LIJ Health System.
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