Source: PR Newswire
A newly published report—co-authored by Dr. Frank Vicini, principal investigator at 21st Century Oncology, and several oncologists from leading medical institutions—finds that older women with low-risk, hormone-positive breast cancer can safely opt for a short dose of radiation instead of taking anti-estrogen pills, which can cause adverse side effects like hot flashes, weight gain and bone fracture.
Published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, the model is based on data taken from 200,000 women, age 70 or older, who participated in three trials and two meta analyses. Dr. Vicini, along with physicians from several centers including the Cleveland Clinic, Harvard, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and the University of Michigan and other top-rated institutions, determined that low-risk patients who underwent a lumpectomy and chose to take anti-hormonal therapy had only slightly higher survival rates compared to those who opted for radiation, making the latter a good option for some women who want to avoid the sometimes-severe side effects of endocrine therapy.
The model looked at eight survival metrics and evaluated cost differentials, with radiation yielding only a slight increase in cost to the healthcare system—$3,809 over the average lifetime.
“Patients come to us and they want to know what their options are,” said Dr. Vicini, who has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed articles. “Many patients start anti-estrogen treatment but haven’t been able to manage the side effects. The reality is anti-hormone therapy is not easy to take long-term and doesn’t offer significantly greater benefits. It can dramatically impact quality of life.”
Dr. Vicini encourages patients to speak with their physicians and to make an educated decision to determine if the slight benefit to taking anti-hormonal therapy outweighs the costs to quality of life. Too often, he says physicians are biased in favor of hormone therapy—even though only 50% of patients continue to take daily pills for a five-year period.
Based on the initial model, the authors are applying to conduct a full research study.
About 21st Century Oncology
21st Century Oncology is the nation’s largest integrated cancer care network. Operating as one dream team in the crusade against cancer, the company carries out its mission with the mindset of “fighting for patients like an army and caring for them like a family.” 21st Century Oncology employs or is affiliated with 1,000 physicians globally to deliver the most advanced, integrated and compassionate cancer care in personal and convenient settings. Headquartered in Fort Myers, FL, 21st Century Oncology operates 164 treatment centers, including 127 centers located in 15 U.S. states. In addition, the company operates 37 centers located in seven countries in Latin America. For more information, please visit https://www.21co.com
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.