14 Sep 2017

Treatment trials radically reducing radiation times

One of the most exciting things I find in my field of work, and as a researcher, is news of trials and improvements to treatments for breast cancer patients.

Recently it was announced that Australian breast cancer patients are some of the first in the world to benefit from a new trial that replaces current radiation therapy processes with a single nine-minute dose of treatment.

Known as ‘intraoperative radiation’, this new radiation treatment is delivered internally during breast cancer surgery, replacing the current process of post-operative external radiation therapy, which often requires several weeks of ongoing treatment.

As well as reducing treatment costs and travel times, it is hoped this new approach will remove the physical and emotional burden that multiple doses of radiation treatment can have on cancer patients.

The trial is being conducted by the Monash Health and Peter MacCallum cancer centres in Victoria, and patients participating in the trial are considered low-risk.

Each patient will be monitored over the next 10 years to identify if any tumours reoccur, and whether there are any long-term side effects from the trial.

While currently only available to a small number of women in Victoria, we are hopeful that the trial is successful and will be rolled out nationally in the near future.