According to a new study in the field of radiotherapy and oncology, women who are lucky enough to survive breast cancer, you may have an increased risk of developing lung cancer. The study shows how it can be prevented - limiting the radiation dose to the lung using a treatment that targets only a small part of the breast.
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women, and in the US in 2018 was diagnosed more than 266,000 new cases.
Due to the widespread use of screening mammography, many women are now being diagnosed at an early stage - the belief that cancer is only grown in the chest and is not covered under your arm or in distant organs. These people have a good prognosis, which is only 1.3% risk of dying of cancer recurrence after five years.
Treatment currently associated with reduced thoracic surgery, followed by several daily ray procedures aimed at the entire breast. However, despite the fact that he carefully taken, a small amount of radiation might spill into the lungs.
Using sophisticated predictive model called the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VII, as well as by testing several methods of radiation on a realistic model of a patient with breast cancer, the study PhD. student Nynke Hoekstra shows that the risk of developing lung cancer increases slowly over 5-10 years after radiotherapy. It reaches three percent of patients surviving after more than 30 years.
The risk of lung cancer is a serious problem for younger patients with early stage breast cancer - such as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is a non-invasive form of cancer and, consequently, very treatable disease. These patients have a chance to live long enough to experience before this terrible side effect of treatment.
The good news is that the risk is not the same for all radiotherapy techniques. Research shows that a new form of radiotherapy in early breast cancer - caused by the accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) - greatly reduces this risk.
APBI delivers radiation therapy is only a small part of the breast. He focuses on the cavity remaining after the surgery, where there is a risk that cancer cells may remain.
There are many advantages of APBI, including the delivery of treatment in just five days. And research has shown that this leads to a significantly lower exposure of the body organs, including the lungs, than conventional treatments.
APBI - a technique that is being developed. This study adds to the growing body of evidence that it should be the preferred method for women with a very low risk of breast cancer.
But not all patients will benefit from APBI. Some need more complex and extensive radiation therapy in order to save their lives. Patients should be advised to discuss with their radiation oncologist.
Tiny radioactive seeds
Among APBI subjects "brachytherapy," - a form of radiation therapy wherein a radioactive material is implanted inside the surgical cavity, - is the safest.
The particular form of brachytherapy, developed in Canada, called "the implant with a permanent breast implant" - is the one that has the lowest risk of secondary lung cancer.
This method, which is also used to treat prostate cancer, Includes permanent implantation of tiny radioactive seeds, the size of rice grains, within a one-hour procedure performed under light sedation. Patients are discharged the same day.
The emission of radioactive seeds is so weak that it is absorbed within a few millimeters, and therefore rarely reaches other organs.
The good news is that there is still much room for improvement - for example, using a robotic delivery of radiation from all angles around the breast in order to better avoid lung. This is the subject of ongoing research.