Adding radiation therapy to a patient's course of treatment after the removal of a breast tumor can help prevent additional tumors from appearing and improve overall chances of survival, according to authors of a recent study presented this week at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's annual conference.
Researchers reviewed the patient records of almost 11,000 breast cancer patients who underwent surgery to have tumors removed. Those who had radiation therapy after the surgery had a 14.5 percent lower rate of tumor re-growth after 10 years, and were 3.2 percent less likely to be dead within 15 years.
There were several additional factors which influenced the level of benefit patients realized from additional radiation therapy, the study found. Age, tumor grade, and whether the drug tamoxifen was used all had an effect on the patient's prognosis.
Tumor recurrence is one reason even fully recovered cancer patients are frequently burdened with higher health and life insurance rates. Experts say consumers should avoid behaviors that increase their risk of cancer, including smoking and poor dietary habits.