Radioactive implants after early stage breast cancer surgery may be as effective as removal of the entire breast in controlling the spread of the disease, researchers said Monday.
“It is hoped that these results will motivate surgeons to consider this conservative approach over more disfiguring surgical procedures,” said Carl Mansfield, a professor at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.
The technique involves insertion of hollow plastic tubes at the time a growth is removed. Four to six hours later, the tubes are filled with Iridium-192 and the tubes are left in place for 48 to 60 hours before being removed.
The patients receive external radiation treatments two weeks later.
The report said the success rate for stopping the spread of the disease with the tube method was comparable to that of mastectomy.
Mansfield and a colleague reported on their research at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
In another report released at the same meeting, researchers said a study of more than 1,000 women in the United States and Europe has found that a new ultrasound technique can reduce the need for biopsies in checking for breast cancer.
The technique involves a high resolution, digital ultrasound that can better distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous masses found in the breast during mammography screenings.