There are a number of therapies possible after breast cancer surgery. Which one is right for you? A new study gives a surprising answer.
After a lumpectomy to remove early stage estrogen receptor positive (ER+) tumors, it’s common for doctors to use radiation. Now researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have announced that this treatment isn’t necessary after all. Tamoxifen alone is sufficient to prevent a recurrence, they say. But how good was this study? And what do these results mean for you?
First of all, all of the study participants were women over the age of 70, so the results may not apply to you — especially if you’re premenopausal. As I’ve told you numerous times before, the older you are, the slower everything grows — including tumors.
Half of the women in this study took Tamoxifen alone. The other half took Tamoxifen along with radiation. The researchers followed them for more than 10 years.
There was practically no difference in survival from breast cancer in either group. The women who took Tamoxifen alone had an overall survival rate of 63%. While those who had radiation therapy as well had a survival rate of 61%. This is not statistically significant.
The purpose of radiation after breast surgery is to prevent recurrences, not to keep you alive. And the researchers didn’t consider quality of life. Recurrence rates were similar with both therapies. So if survival from breast cancer, and recurrences, are about the same whether or not you get radiation, why risk side effects?
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In fact, if you’re over 70, a better question might be whether or not it makes sense to use any therapies with side effects? Why not take PectaSol-C, a modified citrus pectin product that keeps cancer cells from metastasizing? That could prevent a recurrence safely. For more information on PectaSol products and studies go to www.econugenics.com.
Tamoxifen alone or Tamoxifen with radiation aren’t your only options. Take time to explore your choices. There may be more than your doctor suggests.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Ralph Moss, Cancer Decisions, November 28, 2010.