Ashtabula County Medical Center | ACMC Pulse | Summer 2023

Oncology A NEW STUDY suggests that women over the age of 65 who are diagnosed with low-risk breast cancer may avoid radiation treatment without affecting their post-treatment survival rate. Ashtabula County Medical Center Oncologist Shinoj Pattali, MD, said the study is encouraging. “Treatment plans for any form of cancer look at managing symptoms and improving quality of life in the short term and also look long-term at the survivability of cancer,” he said. “This study may indicate that we can maintain the long-term goal of survivability, while improving the quality of life during treatment by eliminating radiation.” In the study, women were divided into two groups. One received a specific dosage of radiation throughout treatment and the other received no radiation. After 10 years, the results showed a recurrence of cancer at about the same rate for both groups, and the survival rates were almost equal in both groups. While the news is encouraging, there are a few cautions included with the study. “We must be careful that we don’t assume this study means all breast cancer patients can skip radiation treatment—the study was done with women over the age of 65 years old who had detected breast cancer in an early stage. Breast-conserving surgery was done to remove the cancerous cells and endocrine or hormone therapies given after surgery,” Dr. Pattali said, adding that women who can potentially choose to skip radiation therapy are those over the age of 65 with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers and who commit to taking anti-estrogen therapy daily for a minimum of five years. Early detection is the key to survivability The study results come at a time when breast cancer cases are on the rise. An estimated 290,000 cases were diagnosed in the United States in 2022. The 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment shows WOMEN OVER 65 may avoid radiation for breast cancer 12 ACMC Pulse •