20 August 2020

A new study published in the BMJ suggests that asingle targeted dose of radiotherapy could be as effective at treating breast cancer as a full course. This type of radiotherapy, called Targeted Intraoperative Radiotherapy (TARGIT-IORT), is a single, targeted dose of radiation inside the breast, immediately after the primary tumour is removed.

Mia Rosenblatt, Associate Director of Policy and Influencing at Breast Cancer Now, the research and care charity, said:

This encouraging research provides further evidence that radiotherapy delivered at the same time as breast-conserving surgery for some women with early breast cancer offers similar outcomes to traditional radiotherapy.

We know that the innovative Intrabeam treatment is already available in some areas, and can reduce the need for multiple hospital visits and lessen the side-effects experienced. This can make a huge difference at an already challenging time.

However, crucially, with some women in this trial needing to receive additional radiotherapy treatment after Intrabeam to further reduce the chance of the cancer returning, we must now understand how to better select patients for this treatment.

Also, as radiotherapy treatment continually evolves and a shorter five dose option has now been introduced, it will be important to consider the improvements Intrabeam radiotherapy’s single dose could offer in comparison.

This latest evidence must now be considered in full by NICE to understand whether Intrabeam radiotherapy should be rolled out as an option more widely across the NHS. In the meantime, it’s vital all women have access to clear information about the benefits and risks of the different ways of delivering radiotherapy to allow them to make an informed choice. Anyone with questions or concerns about their current breast cancer treatment can call our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000. Our nurses are just at the end of the phone.