Shorter Radiotherapy Regimen May Be Better For Certain Patients With Breast Cancer

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Houston Chronicle (8/7, Ackerman) reports that research published in JAMA Oncology suggests that “women with early stage breast cancer are better off with a shorter, more powerful course of radiation therapy.” Investigators “found that patients who received higher doses of whole breast radiation over four weeks experienced fewer side effects and a better quality of life compared to those who received lower doses over six weeks.”

HealthDay (8/7, Preidt) reports that physicians “should use this higher-dose approach – called hypofractionated whole breast irradiation – as a starting point when discussing treatment options with breast cancer patients...said” the investigators.

MedPage Today (8/7, Bankhead) reports that “the authors of an accompanying editorial said ‘the mounting evidence supporting hypofractionation can no longer be ignored.’” Medscape (8/7, Castellino) also covers the story. 

RT-BOOP Risk May Be Low For Young Breast Cancer Patients

Monday, August 3, 2015
Radiation Therapy News (8/1, Newman) reported that while “radiation-induced bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP) is a possible side effect of radiation therapy in women with breast cancer,” researchers “found that the risk is quite low but is more prevalent in older women.” The findings were published in Radiation Oncology. 

House Bill Would Overrule USPSTF Panel Recommendations On Mammography Screening For Younger Women

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Bloomberg News (7/30, Tracer) reports that Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) “submitted a bill Wednesday to put a two-year moratorium on a proposal” from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) that could “end guaranteed insurance coverage for mammograms for women ages 40 to 49.” In April, a USPSTF panel “said...that the benefits of those screenings may not outweigh harms such as false positives,” though the final recommendations have not been issued yet. If the bill is approved, Bloomberg News adds, “it wouldn’t be the first time Congress has effectively overruled the experts on breast-cancer screening.” 

Death Rates From Invasive Breast Cancer Declining

Friday, July 24, 2015
MedPage Today (7/23, Jackson) reports that data indicate that “from 1973 to 2010 in the U.S., large reductions in breast cancer-specific death hazards were experienced in women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.” While “overall age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rates were stable initially, they decreased by almost one-third, from 33.5% in 1988 to 23.5% in 2010, reported Mitchell Gail, MD, PhD, senior investigator, biostatistics branch, division of cancer epidemiology and genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Md., and colleagues.” The findings were published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology 

Breast Density Notification Letters May Not Motivate High-Risk Women To Pursue Further Risk Assessment

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Aunt Minnie (7/22, Yee) reports that “some 85% of women who received [breast] density notification letters didn’t follow through with services offered by a risk-assessment clinic,” according to a study published July 14 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Penn State Hershey Breast Center investigators “found that letters sent directly to women who had a 20% or higher lifetime risk of breast cancer did not appear to motivate them to pursue further risk assessment.”