Standard-of-care for early-stage breast cancer patients is breast-conserving surgery aka lumpectomy and local radiation. Radiation therapy brings short, long-term and late-stage side effects. Breast cancer patients, therefore, should undergo radiation therapy if and only if there is a clear survival benefit.
If a very small percentage of breast cancer survivors get breast cancer in there other breast, will they die of breast cancer? Will the local radiation cause side effects such as heart damage that may cause more harm than the 3% relapse?
Studies don’t give a clear picture. We are left to decide for ourselves.
If you would like to understand more about those therapies, toxic or non-toxic, which may help you reduce the risk of relapse, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply ASAP.
“Abstract-Breast cancer generally develops in older women and its incidence is continuing to increase with increasing age of the population. The pathology and biology of breast cancer seem to be different in the elderly, often resulting in the undertreatment of elderly patients and thus in higher rates of recurrence and mortality. The aim of this review is to describe the differences in the biology and treatment of early breast cancer in the elderly as well as the use of geriatric assessment methods that aid decision-making. Provided there are no contraindications, the cornerstone of treatment should be surgery, as the safety and efficacy of surgical resection in elderly women have been well documented. Because most breast cancers in the elderly are hormone responsive, hormonal therapy remains the mainstay of systemic treatment in the adjuvant setting…
“This report is welcomed, as it shows once again that addition of radiotherapy to adjuvant endocrine treatment in this population of older women with small oestrogen receptor-positive cancers produces a statistically significant, albeit minimal, reduction in ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence at 5 years,with radiotherapy vs 4·1% without radiotherapy, while showing no differences between treatment groups with respect to regional recurrence, distant metastases, contralateral tumours, or new breast cancers.”
“Results obtained from a large, randomized clinical trial in 2004 demonstrated that combining radiation therapy with tamoxifen did not improve 5-year recurrence rates or increase the overall survival in older women with early-stage breast cancer. Nonetheless, physicians still use radiation to treat this particular group of patients…”
“Some older women with breast cancer could safely avoid radiotherapy, without harming their chances of survival, a study has shown…The findings suggest that a carefully defined group of patients who are at low risk of recurrence could avoid the health risks and side effects associated with radiotherapy, such as fatigue and cardiac damage…
Older women with early breast cancer who are given breast-conserving surgery and hormone therapy gain very modest benefit from radiotherapy, researchers say.
The findings suggest that a carefully defined group of patients who are at low risk of recurrence could avoid the health risks and side effects associated with radiotherapy, such as fatigue and cardiac damage.
After five years, roughly 96 percent of both groups had survived, and most deaths were not caused by breast cancer. Around one percent of those given radiation had cancer recur in the treated breast versus four percent of those who did not receive radiotherapy.