NEW YORK, NY -- December 15, 2005. Radiation therapy for breast cancer patients following lumpectomy saves lives and should be used more often, despite the fears of many women about radiation. So says the American Council on Science and Health, reacting to a study in the December 17, 2005 issue of the British medical journal theLancet.
Women are often fearful of radiation's potential side effects, but the new Lancet study by Sir Richard Peto and colleagues at Oxford, re-examining studies of some 42,000 women, shows that the benefits outweigh the risks. The practice of "watchful waiting" after
lumpectomies may be ill-advised.
"This new Lancet study erases any doubt about the value of radiation after lumpectomy," says American Council on Science and Health president Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, hailing the findings. "Women shouldn t fear radiation therapy -- they should welcome its benefits." Some 25% of women forgo radiation therapy after lumpectomies, but it now seems likely that many of those individuals should receive radiation.
The American Council on Science and health is a non-profit consumer education group, advised by over 300 doctors and scientists, that works to put health risks and benefits in perspective.