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A study published today shows that whole-breast irradiation fares better than brachytherapy for women with breast cancer.

The results of a study presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) prompted enough controversy to warrant a statement from 3 major medical societies and an expert panel teleconference on December 14, 2011 to discuss the analysis of data presented by the MD Anderson Cancer Center physicians.

A pilot mentor-to-mentor oncology nurse–led training program was developed in which volunteer former patients who have undergone brachytherapy for early stage breast cancer at UCSD were taught by the oncology nurse how to provide information and support to new patients about to undergo the procedure.

Mismanaged therapy at one institution has dealt a blow to the field, but practitioners explain why the technique remains worthwhile.

Repeat lumpectomy and retreatment radiotherapy following ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence (IBTR) by either external-beam irradiation or brachytherapy in lieu of salvage mastectomy is an area of significant recent clinical interest. Multiple authors have reported their results, with encouraging numbers of patients avoiding mastectomy.[1‑4]

Standard treatment options for prostate cancer patients include surveillance, surgery, external-beam radiotherapy, brachytherapy, the combination of external-beam and brachytherapy, and the combination of radiotheraputic modalities with hormonal therapy, for appropriately chosen patients.

The comparison of brachytherapy and surgery may be done on several levels. This review focuses the comparison on toxicity, the “soft” endpoints of biochemical relapse-free survival and clinical relapse-free survival, and the “hard” endpoint of prostate cancer–specific mortality.


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