Reports From the Field: Brachytherapy is effective treatment for breast cancer

Brachytherapy is an effective modality for treatment of breast cancer, according to a study presented at the fall meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology
and Oncology.

The procedure involves planting tiny radioactive pellets at the site of the tumor. The implants have been used for several years to treat prostate cancer.

Most women with breast cancer receive external radiation treatments following a lumpectomy. The advantage to brachytherapy is that the pellets are inserted during the lumpectomy, eliminating the need for daily radiation treatments over a period of weeks.

In the study, 199 women with early-stage breast cancer were treated with one of three protocols.

The five-year results of the treatment were comparable to conventional breast conservation therapy and whole breast external beam radiation, says Peter Yale Chen, MD, lead author of the study.

"Extended follow-up is still required to determine the long-term efficacy of this treatment approach," he adds.