HSN physicians publish innovative breast cancer research

By Rosalind Russell – What’s being called a ground-breaking research paper, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was co-authored by a Sudbury oncologist. Officials say it can help spare many breast cancer patients radiation therapy.

Dr. Julie Bowen, a radiation oncologist with the Shirley & Jim Fielding Northeaster Cancer Centre is one of the co-authors of the study. She says it is already leading to important changes in breast cancer treatment adding breast -conserving surgery has long been the preferred choice for women with early breast cancer.

She adds for most patients, this means undergoing radiation therapy, which can come with its own challenges.

While the 1 to 5 weeks of daily treatments are an inconvenience, there can also be short-term and long-term side effects like fatigue, skin irritation, breast swelling, and breast pain, explains Dr. Bowen.

The study looked at 500 women aged 55 and older from across Canada, including Northern Ontario, with a specific subtype of low-risk breast cancer: the luminal A subtype.

Previously, patients living with this form of cancer would receive both hormonal therapy and radiotherapy, but she says researchers found that treatment could be administered without radiotherapy, with a remarkably low risk of local recurrence at the 5-year mark.

Photo: Health Sciences North is the focus of an ongoing study into fighting breast cancer with a recent publication in the New England Journal of Medicine. Photo provided -FB

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