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Study: Post-mastectomy radiotherapy underused

Category: Breast

Breast cancer patients who undergo a mastectomy and who would benefit from postoperative radiation therapy receive the procedure far less often than those who undergo breast-conserving surgery, also known as a lumpectomy.

In the study, a research team from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center used established medical guidelines to identify 2,260 breast cancer patients who would benefit from radiation therapy. They discovered that 95 percent of those who underwent a lumpectomy received the treatment following surgery.

In contrast, lead author Reshma Jagsi, an assistant professor of radiation oncology at the university, and his colleagues discovered that only 78 percent of those who had a mastectomy received radiation therapy, according to Health Day News.

"A substantial number of breast cancer patients are being undertreated," said Jagsi, "One in five women with strong indications for radiation after mastectomy failed to receive it. Radiation can be a lifesaving treatment."

Meanwhile, among breast cancer sufferers who would benefit less from radiation, a total of 80 percent of lumpectomy patients underwent the procedure, while only 46 percent of mastectomy patients did the same.

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