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For some breast cancer patients, a simple change in which treatment comes first — giving them radiation before surgery — can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life and reduce the need for multiple surgeries, a study has found.

The study, published Friday at the JAMA Network Open, is preliminary, but experts say the results could one day lead to treatment guidelines that make life easier for breast cancer patients if they are replicated in larger studies.

“The findings are not only promising, but also significant, indicating a paradigm shift,” said Dr. Roberto Diaz, a radiation oncologist specializing in breast cancer at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.

Photo: A Technician Performs A Routine Mammogram In This Nov. 30, 2016 File Photo.

In this Nov. 30, 2016 file photo, a technician performs a routine mammogram.

UIG via Getty Images, File

Breast cancer treatment varies from person to person. Some aggressive breast cancers are initially treated with surgery to remove the cancerous breast, a procedure called a mastectomy, followed by radiation. This is called “post-mastectomy radiation” and kills the remaining cancer cells.

Because of the risk of complications, patients must wait six to 12 months after radiation therapy before receiving breast tissue reconstruction. The implant surgery should be delayed to avoid possible damage caused by radiation.

Photo: In This Stock Photo, A Doctor Performs A Mammogram On A Patient.

In this stock photo, a doctor performs a mammogram on a patient.


Current treatment options for patients with breast cancer have various challenges.

Women who need post-mastectomy radiation, especially if they want reconstruction, have more surgeries…and a poorer quality of life while they wait for reconstruction. Although efforts are made to minimize long-term radiation toxicity, the cosmetic results are often better than the tissue damage. around the implant,” said Dr. Ronica Nanda, a radiation oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.

Dr. Mark V. Shaverien, professor of plastic surgery at the University of Texas, conducted a phase two clinical trial of 48 patients with breast cancer who needed radiation and examined the effects of breast reconstruction. Treatment order. These patients undergo “pre-mastectomy radiotherapy” or radiation, followed by surgical removal of the cancerous tissue. Complete radiation means patients can have reconstructive surgery at the same time without compromising the implant’s anatomy. This command was found to be effective and did not cause complications.

Experts are hopeful about the possible benefits that these findings suggest. Dr. Clary Evans, a radiation oncologist at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York, said this new treatment sequence “provided better overall cosmetic results, reduced the number of surgical procedures, and reduced overall treatment time for some patients.” “

However, experts warn that this study is small and that more studies will be needed before we know how this will change the current treatment.

“We look forward to the results of the upcoming Phase 3 study for further confirmation and insight into long-term outcomes,” Dr. Diaz said.

A large clinical trial with 126 patients is underway, starting in April 2023.

Dr. Ashley Yeo, MD is a member of the ABC Medical News segment and an internal medicine resident at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC.

Dr. Camrie Kelly, DO is a member of the ABC Medical News segment and chief resident of the Mayo Clinic Family Medicine Residency Program in Rochester, Minnesota.