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Practice-Changing Cancer Studies To Be Unveiled At ASTRO Annual Meeting

October 27, 2009

The following are highlights of new cancer research being presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s (ASTRO) 51st Annual Meeting on November 1-5, 2009, in Chicago.

Short-term hormone therapy added to radiation increases survival for medium-risk, but not low-risk, prostate cancer patients (late-breaking study)

Short-term hormone therapy given prior to and during radiation treatment to medium-risk prostate cancer patients increases their chance of living longer, compared to those who receive radiation alone, however there is no significant benefit for low-risk patients, according to the largest randomized study of its kind presented at the plenary session, November 2, 2009″¦

Shorter radiation course as effective as standard therapy for prostate cancer recurrence

A shorter, five-week course of radiation treatment that delivers higher doses of radiation in fewer sessions, known as hypofractionation, appears to be just as effective and as safe in reducing the risk of prostate cancer from returning as standard radiation therapy, yet is delivered in two-and-a-half weeks less time, according to interim results of a randomized study presented Wednesday, November 4, 2009″¦

Shorter radiation course stops cancer growth in high-risk prostate cancer patients

Hypofractionated radiation treatment, a newer type of radiation treatment that delivers higher doses of radiation in fewer treatments than conventional radiation therapy, is significantly more effective in stopping cancer from growing in high risk patients, compared to receiving standard radiation treatment, according to a study presented on Wednesday, November 4, 2009″¦

Radiation after surgery reduces chance of melanoma returning

High-risk melanoma patients who are treated with radiation after surgery have a significantly lower risk of their cancer returning to the lymph nodes (19 percent), compared to those patients who do not have radiation therapy (31 percent), according to the first randomized study-of-its-kind presented at the plenary session on Monday, November 2, 2009″¦

Stereotactic radiotherapy stops lung cancer from growing in frail patients

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) stopped the growth of cancer at its original site in the lung for three years among nearly 98 percent of patients with early non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who are unable to have the cancer surgically removed, according to an updated three-year study presented on Monday, November 2, 2009″¦

Adding proton therapy “boost” to X-ray radiation therapy reduces prostate cancer recurrences

Men who receive a “boost” of proton therapy after receiving a standard course of X-ray radiation therapy have fewer recurrences of their prostate cancer compared to men who did not receive the extra dose of proton radiation, according to a first-of-its-kind study presented November 2, 2009″¦

Proton therapy is well-tolerated in prostate cancer patients

Proton beam therapy can be safely delivered to men with prostate cancer and has minimal urinary and rectal side effects, according to a study presented November 2, 2009″¦

Cancer patients want honesty, compassion from their oncologist

What do patients want from their radiation oncologists? The most significant preference is that more than one-third of female cancer patients (37 percent) prefer to have their hands held by their radiation oncologists during important office visits, compared to 12 percent of men, according to a randomized study presented on Wednesday, November 4, 2009″¦

Obesity significantly increases side effects of stereotactic body radiation therapy in lung cancer patients

Obesity, not the amount of radiation given, is the greatest factor in whether early-stage lung cancer patients develop chest wall pain after receiving stereotactic body radiation therapy to the chest wall, with obese patients being more than twice as likely to develop chronic pain compared to those who have less body weight, according to a first-of-its-kind study presented on Tuesday, November 3, 2009″¦

What are the real benefits versus risks of preventative brain radiation for patients with non-small cell lung cancer?

Patients with non-small cell lung cancer treated with preventative brain radiation (called prophylactic cranial irradiation or PCI), significantly decrease their risk of developing brain metastases (cancer spread in the brain) by more than 50 percent (from 18 percent to 8 percent), compared to those who did not receive the treatment, according to a randomized study presented at the plenary session on Monday, November 2, 2009″¦

Three-week course of breast radiation may be as effective as conventional five to seven week course for early breast cancers, says U.S. study

A shortened, more intensive course of radiation given to the whole breast, along with an extra dose of radiation given to the surgical bed of the tumor (concomitant boost), has been shown to result in excellent local control at a median follow up of two years after treatment with no significant sides effects, according to a study presented November 4, 2009″¦

Additional, specialized radiation not necessary for some women after mastectomy

After mastectomy, breast cancer patients who receive radiation treatment to the lymph nodes located behind the breast bone do not live longer than those who do not receive radiation to this hard-to-treat area, according to a randomized 10-year study presented at the plenary session, Monday, November 2, 2009″¦

Stereotactic radiosurgery as effective in eliminating Parkinson’s disease tremors as other treatments, but less invasive

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) offers a less invasive way to eliminate tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor than deep brain stimulation (DBS) and radiofrequency (RF) treatments, and is as effective, according to a long-term study presented November 2, 2009″¦

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