UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers recently discovered a new way to reduce breast cancer treatment time. They found that stereotactic partial breast radiation, a non-invasive form of radiation treatment, is just as safe and effective as traditional practices, and only takes days to complete. Currently, UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only medical center in Texas to offer stereotactic partial breast radiation treatment to early-stage patients.
Standard breast cancer treatments are usually delivered daily to the entire breast over a period of three to six weeks. In order to deliver better care while abstaining from invasive techniques, researchers conducted a trial using precise, image-guided stereotactic radiation over six years. The results showed the method “decreased treatment time to just five treatments, delivered every other day,” in comparison to standard radiation.
According to UT Southwestern, 75 percent of early-stage breast cancer patients reported they saw “both outstanding tumor control and excellent cosmetic results.” Given the high-yielding results, the researchers plan to continue conducting trials using the stereotactic radiation technique.
Dr. Robert Timmerman, professor of radiation oncology and the study’s senior author, says that as technology continues to advance, it’ll be easier to detect early-stage breast cancers. “Patients with these early cancers might particularly benefit from a local therapy approach that both minimizes the normal tissue exposure while improving the convenience for patients who already lead hectic lives,” Timmerman said.