New cancer treatment
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.