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For women who receive positive breast cancer tests, there are many treatment options, all of which have unique drawbacks. Most patients would prefer to simply have the lump removed, saving their breast, but this approach could require several weeks of follow-up radiation treatment.
However, a team of researchers from Northwestern University have developed a new method of treatment in which radiation is delivered at the time of lumpectomy surgery. This allows women the convenience of avoiding long periods of follow-up treatment of the benefit of saving their breast.
"By eliminating the geographic and time constraints of traditional radiotherapy, intraoperative radiation can make breast conservation surgery a realistic option for more women," said Kevin Bethke, who led the study. "Active women with busy jobs can choose lumpectomy and comply with the recommended radiation therapy, but limit the impact the treatment has on their lives."
He added that many women who choose lumpectomy surgery and subsequent radiation treatment fail to follow through the entire treatment plan due to time constraints and inconvenience. This increases their risk of a recurrence. However, the new method of delivering radiation at the time of surgery can help more women complete their prescribed treatment.
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