Breast Cancer "One Shot" Therapy Given Green Light

A New Breast Cancer Therapy Has Been Given The Green Light By The NHS

25.07.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
A pioneering new breast cancer therapy has been given the green light by the NHS.

In the treatment, patients are given a single dose of radiation from inside their breast after a tumour has been surgically removed.

While this does not work for people with more advanced cancers that have spread to other areas, it is suitable for patients in the earlier stages of malignancy.

The NHS expects this will benefit around 36,000 people and will save millions of pounds per year, reports the BBC.

Approval for the technique, which is named intra-operative radiation, was provided by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which said it would improve patients' quality of life, as well as their survival chances.

Currently, patients that undergo radiotherapy have to visit hospital at least 15 times for treatment to lessen the growth of their breast tumour, but this will be cut to just one course of therapy - saving time and money for the NHS.

This therapy will also allow patients to be more mobile, paving the way for them to be less tied to their local hospital for a prolonged period of time - meaning they can go on holiday or move house.

Clinical studies on intra-operative radiation show the technique has a similar level of efficacy as conventional radiotherapy, but causes less damage to other organs - including the heart, lungs and oesophagus.

Professor Carole Longson, director of health technology evaluation at NICE, told the BBC: "Because [intra-operative radiation] is still relatively new, it is only right to recommend its use in a carefully controlled way.

"This will ensure patients are fully aware of the risks and benefits before choosing which treatment to have and allow doctors to gather more information about the treatment."

Emma Greenwood, Cancer Research UK's head of policy, also welcomed the news, stating that the therapy offers "potentially huge benefits" for patients.

Expert Opinion
The introduction of technology and treatments to improve patients’ quality of life, as well as boosting their chances of surviving such a devastating disease, is a very positive step. The fact that this new treatment, which has received approval from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, will benefit so many people is a huge step forward.

“Through our work we see the life-changing affects gruelling courses of treatment can have on both patients and their families, often causing other debilitating side-effects.

“It is now vital the treatment is rolled out correctly, doctors are given the opportunity to gather more information about the procedure and patients are provided with the full risks associated with different therapies before choosing their treatment option.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner