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Medical News and Perspectives
July 28, 2010

Radiation After Lumpectomy Can Be Omitted for Certain Women With Breast Cancer

JAMA. 2010;304(4):395-396. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.966

Chicago—As the era of personalized medicine unfolds, data-driven therapeutic options for use of radiation therapy in women with breast cancer are beginning to emerge.

The latest research, presented here at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), appears to confirm that for women aged 70 years or older with early-stage breast cancer who have undergone a lumpectomy, radiation can be optional as long as they receive antiestrogen therapy in the form of tamoxifen. The finding is important because it could help lower health care costs. In addition, for the 30% of women in North America who, some studies suggest, undergo lumpectomy but forego radiation therapy for such reasons as inconvenience and cost, the knowledge that this option is a reasonable one should help reduce fear and anxiety.

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