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Breast cancer trial could save £15m

A new technique to treat breast cancer means sufferers could be spared prolonged radiotherapy sessions.

Trials into the procedure, involving more than 2,000 women, saw patients receive a single dose of radiation targeting the precise site of their cancer.

The technique, called Targeted Intraoperative Radiotherapy (Targit), means patients do not have to undergo post-operation radiotherapy, which can include 20 or 30 trips to hospital over a period of five to six weeks.

It also reduces their exposure to radiation, with researchers hoping it could cut waiting lists and save the NHS up to £15 million every year.

Professor Jeffrey Tobias, from University College London Hospitals NHS Trust (UCLH), said: "I think the reason why it works so well is because of the precision of the treatment.

"It is given in a single dose via an intraoperative probe and the conventional surgery is extended by just 30-40 minutes while the patient is asleep under anaesthetic.

Josephine Ford, 80, who took part in the trial in 2008, said the treatment made the process "less traumatic".

She explained: "It made life so much easier and meant that I didn't have to come back to the radiotherapy department on a daily basis for five or six weeks."

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University College London Hospitals NHS Trust