In This Issue
Is Breast Brachytherapy Still Relevant?
New Mastectomy Data
Mastectomy Is Not the Only Answer
BrachyBytes Editorial Advisory Board
Robert Kuske, M.D.

Jay Reiff, Ph.D.
Dan Scanderbeg, Ph.D.
Catheryn Yashar, M.D.
Vic Zannis, M.D.
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June 2014  

Is Breast Brachytherapy Still Relevant? 

By Robert Kuske, MD, FAACE 

Published in Imaging Technology News  


Today, only 12 percent of breast cancers in the United States are treated with accelerated partial Robert Kuske, MDbreast irradiation (APBI). The clinical benefits of this targeted approach to radiation delivery are clear – reduced radiation exposure to healthy tissue, better cosmetic results and fewer side effects, and allowing more future treatment options in the event of a recurrence or new primary cancer.


Despite these advantages, breast brachytherapy adoption has slowed in recent years, often in favor of other accelerated treatment options. While this has led some to question the importance of breast brachytherapy and whether it will stand the test of time among early-stage breast cancer treatments, I would argue it’s a standard of care that physicians should feel obligated to offer to every eligible patient.

Is breast brachytherapy underutilized? Absolutely. Is it relevant? More than ever – and it’s here to stay. Read more

New Mastectomy Data: Survival Rates, Decision Factors

As the use of mastectomy for treating early-stage breast cancer increases across the U.S., researchers are looking at the treatment’s impact on survival, as well as the factors affecting women’s decisions behind this option – according to two studies recently published in JAMA Surgery.

Better Survival with BCT

In one study, researchers compared breast cancer-specific survival rates of patients with early-stage invasive breast cancer who underwent breast conservation therapy (BCT), mastectomy alone or mastectomy with radiation. They found that patients who received BCT had significantly longer 5- and 10-year disease-specific survival compared to the other two groups. Read abstract

Anxiety Drives Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy

Another study sought to assess the factors driving women’s decisions to opt for contralateral prophylactic mastectomies (CPM). Researchers found that 70 percent of the women who chose CPM did not have a clinically significant risk of developing a contralateral breast cancer – and many were candidates for breast-conserving surgery. The authors concluded, “Worry about recurrence appeared to drive decisions for CPM although the procedure has not been shown to reduce recurrence risk.” Read abstract

Breast Cancer Treatment – Mastectomy Is Not the Only Answer
By Catheryn Yashar, MD

Published in Huffington Post

Each day in my office, I see the sheer panic on the faces of women diagnosed with breast cancer. The statistics are astounding. According to the American Cancer Society, the chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer during her life is one in eight. A growing number of the women I meet think mastectomy is their only option in the face of a diagnosis. But often it’s not.
Read more