A new study reveals that many patients with breast cancer have misconceptions and fears about radiation therapy, but their actual experiences with modern breast radiation therapy are better than they expected. In the study published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, most patients agreed that their initial negative impressions were unfounded.
Over the past 20 years, there have been significant advances in how radiation therapy for breast cancer is delivered, allowing clinicians to spare critical organs, create an individual radiation plan for each patient, and deliver radiation in more convenient schedules. Nonetheless, many patients have fears and misconceptions about radiation therapy.
To get a better sense of patients’ views concerning modern radiation therapy, a team led by Susan McCloskey, MD, MSHS, and Narek Shaverdian, MD, of the University of California Los Angeles, surveyed 502 patients who were treated for breast cancer between 2012 and 2016. Among the 327 patients who responded to the survey, 83 percent underwent breast conservation therapy (defined as lumpectomy and radiation therapy).
“We wanted to look at the patients’ perspective of the breast cancer radiation experience, to have tangible real-world data to guide future patients and providers in their
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