Q&A: Radiation efficacy questioned for cancer treatment of older women

This is an interesting take of a Q&A session with Dr. Kevin S. Hughes, codirector of the Avon Comprehensive Breast Evaluation Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and a surgeon at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, recently completed a study on breast cancer treatment for women over 70.
clipped from www.boston.com

Q. Please explain your study’s finding that most women over 70 with small, contained breast tumors do not need radiation — although that has been the standard therapy for years.

A. We had to give radiation treatment to over 300 women to prevent in-breast recurrence in 21 women [over 10 years]. What else did it buy the patient? Essentially it made no real difference. The radiation did nothing else in terms of preserving the breast, survival, or anything.

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