New can­cer treat­ment

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opinion -

AN in­no­va­tive ra­dio­ther­apy tech­nique with the po­ten­tial to rev­o­lu­tionise treat­ment of early breast can­cer is now avail­able for all el­i­gi­ble women un­der Medi­care.

Lead­ing breast can­cer sur­geon Pro­fes­sor Chris­to­bel Saun­ders said it was ex­cit­ing to see Medi­care ap­prove a new treat­ment.

Re­searchers from UWA tried the tar­geted in­tra-op­er­a­tive ra­dio­ther­apy (TARGIT) tech­nique on al­most 300 pa­tients at the Queen El­iz­a­beth II Med­i­cal Cen­tre as part of a world­wide study ex­am­in­ing its ef­fects on 2000 pa­tients aged over 45.

The re­search found 30 min­utes of in-theatre ra­di­a­tion us­ing TARGIT, could re­place the more ex­pen­sive and time-con­sum­ing six weeks of ex­ter­nal beam ra­dio­ther­apy. Side­ef­fects of the treat­ment were also less.

“We’re de­lighted to see good ev­i­dence-based re­search trans­lated into pol­icy for the ben­e­fit of so many women and, at times, in the face of some fierce op­po­si­tion,” Prof Saun­ders said.

The method al­most com­pletely avoids ir­ra­di­a­tion of other parts of the body, such as the heart, lung and oe­soph­a­gus.

The ap­proval was an­nounced in the May Fed­eral Bud­get and the new list­ing took ef­fect on Septem­ber 1.

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