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Should you get traditional whole breast radiation or brachytherapy for your breast cancer? This new medical study with over 1,100 women studies shows that brachytherapy is just as effective as whole breast, traditional radiation.

A new medical study was just published about the effectiveness of brachytherapy versus traditional, whole breast radiation for breast cancer.  Traditional radiation therapy, also called external beam radiation, aims the radiation from oustside the breast.  This requires daily trips to the hospital for a lengthy period of time.  Also, it has a large field of radiation and this may cause damage to health tissues such as the heart and lungs.  On the other hand, brachytherapy places the radiation inside the breast.  This new medical study, published on April 28, 2015, is one of the largest studies ever done on the effectiveness of brachytherapy.  The researchers looked at the records of 1131 women who had lumpectomy followed by 5 days of multi-catheter internal radiation, a form of brachytherapy.  These women were treated from 1992 to 2013.  The 10-year outcomes were as follows:

  • 96% were alive
  • the risk of breast cancer returning in the same breast was 7.6% & the opposite breast was 4.6%
  • the risk of breast cancer returning in the chest wall, lymph nodes, or breast skin was 2.3%
  • the risk of breast cancer returning in an area away from the breast such as the bones or liver was 3.8%

These outcomes are similar to the results of women treated with traditional, whole breast radiation.  If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer and will be receiving radiation, you may want to consider brachytherapy as an alternative to traditional external beam radiation.