Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer for American women, coming in just second behind lung cancer. According to www.breastcancer.org, one in every eight women in the U.S. develops some form of breast cancer. Like any form of cancer, a delay in diagnosis or a misdiagnosis of cancer can have a negative effect on a patient’s outcome.
Once breast cancer is diagnosed, the typical treatment for breast cancer involves surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. However, a new study unveiled at a Chicago meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) could change the standard for breast cancer treatment. TARGIT-A study is an international study of breast cancer clinical trials involving over 2,000 breast cancer patients. The participants were women 45 years-old and up who had been diagnosed with invasive ductal breast cancer and were undergoing breast-conserving surgery.
Traditionally patients who elect for breast-conserving surgery undergo whole breast external radiation therapy for up to 6 1/2 weeks following surgery. However, the TARGIT-A clinical trials studied the effects of targeted radiation administered during the surgery. The radiation is administered in a single dose and targets only the area of the breast with cancer instead of the whole breast. Half of the studies participants underwent the traditional post-op radiation while the other half received the targeted radiation therapy during surgery. The TARGIT-A study found that the targeted therapy group did somewhat better overall than the traditional radiation group.
In addition to the better outcome found with the targeted therapy there are other advantages to the new method. The targeted therapy is more convenient considering the patients were already undergoing surgery and can be done in a single day instead of the weeks required for traditional radiation therapy.
While the rates of complications and side effects are about the same with both groups, there are some patients who might not be candidates for the targeted therapy. While most patients would benefit from the targeted therapy, the ideal patient would be women with small, well-defined tumors confined to one portion of the breast. Typically, a tumor’s pathology is determined from samples taken during surgery, so would not be available until after the targeted therapy was already administered. If the patient’s pathology indicates they are not the ideal candidate for targeted therapy then they could potentially need additional treatment. Of the 2,000 participants in TARGIT-A, only 14% later needed traditional radiation.
The early indicators would suggest that targeted radiation is as effective, if not more so, than traditional radiation for breast cancer patients. Considering the high prevalence of breast cancer in the U.S., this study’s findings will have wide-reaching affects.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits regarding the misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose cancer for over 30 years, serving those areas in and around Cook County, including Chicago, Barrington, Lisle, and Cicero.
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