London: In a major breakthrough, an Indian-origin doctor Jayant S Vaidya at the University College London along with his team has successfully tested a new technique that makes radiotherapy for breast cancer into a single dose 30-minute affair.
In the new technique, doctors use a mobile radiotherapy device which is inserted into the breast to target the exact site of the cancer rather than the whole breast, as is done presently.
The device blasts the remnants of a tumour inside the breast in one go and the whole procedure is over in just 30 minutes.
Dr Jayant S Vaidya along with David Joseph of the University of Western Australia in Perth enrolled 2,232 women with early-stage breast cancer at 28 centers in nine countries to study the efficacy of the new procedure.
Their study has suggested that a single dose of radiation during surgery is just as effective as a prolonged course of radiotherapy for breast cancer.
The doctors also pointed out that the one-stop procedure would be more convenient for patients.
"That not only saves time but also side effects from the radiation to the breast tissue, to the heart, to the lungs, and is a much better approach," says Dr Susan Love, a breast cancer researcher.
Initial results from the radiation study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology this past week are encouraging. Breast cancer patients who had traditional radiation and those who had the single shot of radiation had roughly the same number of recurrences.
But the single dose during surgery avoids potential damage to organs such as the heart, lung, and oesophagus, which can occur during radiation to the whole breast, the researchers said.
The frequency of any complications and major toxic effects was similar in the two groups.
"I think the reason why it works so well is because of the precision of the treatment. It eradicates the very highest risk area - the part of the breast from which the tumour was removed," the BBC quoted University College London Hospitals (UCLH) oncologist Prof Jeffrey Tobias as saying.
Cancer Research UK said that The Lancet study could have a ‘huge impact’ for patients.
With ANI inputs