Breast cancer patients who undergo radiotherapy after a lumpectomy can improve their long-term survival chances, according to a new study.
The five-year risk of the cancer returning dropped from 26 percent to seven percent in women receiving the treatment, according to a study published in The Lancet, which detailed data from 40,000 women with early breast cancer.
The study also showed that radiotherapy, which aims to kill remaining cancer cells left after the tumour has been removed, reduces from 36 to 31 percent the odds of dying from the disease 15 years after diagnosis. Radiotherapy also brought an overall improvement in survival in patients who had had a mastectomy and whose cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit, the study found.
The treatment, however, is not appropriate for mastectomy patients whose cancer had not spread beyond the breast, according to the researchers.