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Cosmetic results good with partial-breast radiation

Written by: Staff

NEW YORK, Mar 21 (Reuters) As a treatment for early breast cancer, accelerated partial-breast irradiation (APBI) results in good to excellent cosmetic outcomes in nearly all patients and is associated with only mild toxic effects, new research shows.

With APBI, radioactive ''seeds'' are placed in the breast that deliver radiation to the tumor site instead of to the whole breast as typically occurs with standard radiation therapy.

''These results of patients who received APBI...closely parallel the results from several single-institutional experiences along with a phase III randomized trial, all of which demonstrated its 5-year efficacy in selected patients,'' lead author Dr. Peter Y. Chen and colleagues, from William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, write in the medical journal Cancer.

The findings are based on a study of 199 women treated with APBI after having their breast cancer surgically removed with ''lumpectomy,'' an operation that removes just the tumor, leaving most of the breast intact. APBI was applied to the tumor area using low- or high-dose seeds.

After approximately 6 years of follow-up, 33 per cent of cosmetic outcomes were excellent, 66 percent were good, and 1 per cent were fair, the researchers state.

Breast pain, swelling, redness, and skin pigment changes were common findings following APBI, but all decreased over time, the report indicates. Infections were generally mild and were largely confined to the first month after APBI, the report indicates. The long-term side effects treatment were mild and most diminished or reached a plateau over time.

Overall, the researchers conclude that the cosmetic outcomes with APBI are good or excellent in nearly all patients.

Reuters PR DB0852

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