View Full Version : Canadian doctors test 1-day breast cancer treatment

09-09-2004, 18:15
I thought this was important enough to post in this forum.


TORONTO - A one-day breast cancer treatment, in which doctors implant radioactive beads after removing small tumours, requires only a few hours in hospital and could let patients return to normal life more quickly.

In a pioneering Canadian trial, doctors removed lumps from six women and implanted the beads in a ring one centimetre away from the tumour site. The beads emitted low-level radiation for two months and then remained in the body after that. The patients have reported no side effects from the treatment, doctors say.

Dr. Jean-Philippe Pignol, a radiation oncologist at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, said they want to expand the trial to 65 women and measure the effectiveness of the treatment. So far, the trials at the Ontario hospital have been conducted to analyze only the safety of the proposed treatment.

To evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment compared to standard radiation, Pignol said researchers will need a study involving thousands of patients.
"A breast cancer diagnosis may no longer mean that women have to put their life on hold," he said Wednesday at a news conference on the radiation bead safety trial.

"Treatment schedules can be difficult for women logistically, geographically and personally.

"This treatment, if proven equivalent to current standard therapy, may allow women to remain active, care for their children, go to work, remain in their community and continue their normal day-to-day activities while receiving radiation treatment."

Pignol says the treatment could be applicable to between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of the women who get breast cancer, particularly those diagnosed in the early stages of the disease.

Doctors say the advantage of the treatment is that the radiation can be directed precisely at the site where the tumour grew in the breast, and women have to go to the hospital for treatment only once.
The procedure takes between 30 minutes and one hour, with doctors using local anesthesia on the patient before adding the beads around the site of the lumpectomy. Then the patient would need a few hours to recover before going home.

Another breast cancer therapy now being used, brachytherapy, delivers radiation through a catheter and requires the patient to come to the hospital every five days. Standard radiation involves regular hospital visits for between three and seven weeks.

Pignol says this is the first time this method of radiation has been used with breast cancer patients, although it has been used on prostate cancer for some time.

Treatment with radiation beads would cost about twice as much as traditional radiation treatments, though less than a single round of chemotherapy. Countering that medical expense is an economic saving because patients would be able to return to work earlier, Pignol said.

09-09-2004, 21:08
moved to Vital signs. :cool: