Emerging Areas in Radiation Therapy
New techniques and new ways to use radiation therapy for breast cancer treatment are under study in clinical trials. The results of these trials will decide whether they become part of standard care.
Identifying people who may safely avoid radiation therapy
Researchers are studying whether some women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer with a very low risk of recurrence may omit radiation therapy after lumpectomy .
Hypofractionated radiation therapy after mastectomy
Hypofractionated radiation therapy uses a slightly higher dose of radiation per session. This reduces the number of treatment sessions and shortens the overall course from up to 6 weeks to 1-4 weeks.
Many women get hypofractionated radiation therapy after lumpectomy. Hypofractionated radiation therapy is now under study for use after mastectomy .
Shortened course of hypofractionated radiation therapy
Researchers are studying whether further increasing the dose of radiation per session and giving a 1-week course of hypofractionated radiation therapy is as effective in treating breast cancer as giving a 3-week course .
Proton radiation therapy
Proton radiation therapy delivers a precise dose of radiation therapy, targeting a tumor with potentially less impact on normal tissue. It’s used to treat some cancers that require a high level of precision to ensure nearby tissues are not harmed, such as brain tumors in children.
Proton radiation therapy is under study for use in treating breast cancer.
Repeat radiation therapy for breast cancer recurrence
Most often, mastectomy is the standard treatment for breast cancer recurrence in women who were treated with lumpectomy and radiation therapy for early breast cancer . This is due to concerns of increased harmful side effects when radiation is repeated.
Recent data suggest some women with breast cancer recurrence may be safely treated with repeat radiation therapy given only to the area of the recurrence and a small area of surrounding breast tissue . Women who were treated with radiation therapy for breast cancer many years ago, and who have small cancers that haven’t spread to the lymph nodes may be the best candidates for repeat radiation therapy .
After talking with your health care provider, we encourage you to consider joining a clinical trial.
Susan G. Komen® Breast Care Helpline
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BreastCancerTrials.org in collaboration with Susan G. Komen® offers a custom matching service to help find clinical trials that fit your health needs.
Learn more about clinical trials.
Our commitment to research
At Susan G. Komen®, we are committed to saving lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer. Our Research Program is an essential driving force for achieving this mission.
Since our inception in 1982, Komen has provided funding to support research grants that have greatly expanded our knowledge of breast cancer and helped us understand that breast cancer is not just a single disease but many diseases, unique to each individual.
To date, Komen has provided nearly $1.1 billion to researchers in 47 states, the District of Columbia and 24 countries to support research that has resulted in a better understanding of breast cancer; earlier detection; personalized, less invasive treatments for what was once a “one-treatment-fits-all” disease; and improvements in both quality of life and survival rates.
Learn more about our continuing investment in research and the exciting research that we are funding, because nothing would make us happier than ending breast cancer forever.