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Call for breast cancer rethink

Some women with breast cancer may be able to spend less time receiving treatment at hospital in the future, according to a recent study.

Trials have shown that lower total doses of radiotherapy, delivered in fewer, larger treatments, are as effective as the standard higher total dose delivered over a longer time.

The research, published in the Lancet and Lancet Oncology, was jointly funded by Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council and the Department of Health.

Lead researcher Professor John Yarnold, from The Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital, said: "These trials represent a successful 10-year collaboration between cancer specialists and several thousand women motivated to help others by volunteering for research.

"The results suggest that a high total dose given in 25 small treatments is no better than simpler schedules using fewer exposures to a lower total dose.

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, chief executive of the Medical Research Council, said: "This research will help to refine the way we treat women who are battling this disease.

"They'll have to go to hospital for treatment less often which means fewer trips to cancer units."

The Lancet

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