ASTRO: Radiation Enhancement Reduces Skin Burns After Lumpectomy

November 8, 2006

PHILADELPHIA -- After a lumpectomy, intensity modulated radiation therapy is far less toxic to the skin than the standard wedge approach, researchers reported here.

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 8 -- After a lumpectomy, intensity modulated radiation therapy is far less toxic to the skin than the standard wedge approach, researchers reported here.

Treatment with the state-of-the art radiation techniques reduced the risk of skin burning in the critical inframammary zone -- the crease of the breast where it meets the chest wall -- by 74% (P

Dr. Kornmehl said that skin reaction caused by radiation after lumpectomy is the most common side effect due to the procedure. "It is quite common, especially if the hot spot -- the location of the cancer -- is located near the skin," she said.

She said that the use of intensity modulated radiation therapy is being folded into use in hospitals around the United States. "There are still situations where the use of the standard treatment would be preferred over intensity modulated radiation therapy," she said.

Dr. Kornmehl said doctors need to study both procedures to see which is more likely to protect women undergoing lumpectomy from suffering skin damage without compromising their long-term freedom from cancer recurrence.

In lumpectomy, however, radiation is "automatic," she said.