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World’s First Groundbreaking Study That May Help Some Breast Cancer Patients!


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A pioneering NHS study has begun investigating whether proton beam therapy can help some patients with breast cancer.

The world’s first study compares high-tech treatment with standard radiation therapy for those thought to be at higher long-term risk of heart disease.

The treatment uses charged particles to target tumors more precisely.

Standard radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells and reduce the chance of the disease coming back.
The trial will involve 192 people at 22 sites in the UK.

Only those who have an estimated lifetime risk of heart problems from radiation therapy at least 2 percent will participate. About 500 out of every 30,000 people who receive radiation therapy for breast cancer fall into this category.

Scientists will measure radiation dose to the heart as an early indicator of potential heart problems, avoiding the need for years of follow-up.

Every year, 30,000 breast cancer patients in the UK receive postoperative radiation therapy. It is effective for the vast majority of patients, but in less than 1% of patients, conventional radiation therapy can lead to heart problems later in life. This is usually because the breast tissue and lymph nodes requiring radiation therapy are located close to the heart, or because the patient already has an increased risk of heart disease.

It is hoped that offering these patients proton beam therapy, which can more accurately target radiation therapy beams, will provide adequate radiation therapy to breast tissue while reducing “off-target” radiation to the heart.

The trial is being conducted by researchers from the University of Cambridge, the London Institute for Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Those receiving proton beam therapy will be treated at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester or at the University College London NHS Foundation Trust.

Proton beam therapy has been used in countries outside the UK for the treatment of breast cancer, but the number of participants in these trials was small and no trials specifically comparing proton beam therapy with standard radiotherapy have been reported.

Source: Daily Mail

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