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Older women who take adjuvant treatment after lumpectomy may not need radiotherapy

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 09 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:589
  1. David Spurgeon
  1. Quebec

    Results of two studies of breast cancer reported in the New England Journal of Medicine last week have prompted the authors of an accompanying editorial to propose that lumpectomy plus tamoxifen but without local irradiation “is a realistic choice” for some women over the age of 70 years.

    A re-evaluation of the need for radiotherapy has been made against a changed background since earlier trials, says the editorial. These changes include improved imaging and techniques for locating tumours and the widespread use of adjuvant therapy with drugs such as tamoxifen, which reduces the risk of local recurrence and improves survival.

    The first new trial compared local radiotherapy plus tamoxifen with tamoxifen alone in women …

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