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Australas Radiol. 1999 Aug;43(3):334-8.

Variations in breast tangent radiotherapy: a survey of practice in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Liverpool Hospital, New South Wales, Australia.


The breast is a complex anatomical structure where achieving a homogeneous dose distribution with radiation treatment is difficult. Despite obvious similarities in the approach to such treatment (using tangents) there is variation in the process of simulation, planning and treatment between radiation oncologists. Previous Australasian studies in the treatment of lung cancer, prostate cancer and Hodgkin's disease highlighted considerable variation in many areas of treatment. As part of a multicentre breast phantom study involving 10 radiation oncology departments throughout New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), a 22-question survey was distributed. The aim of the survey was to assess the extent of variation in the approach to the simulation, planning and treatment of early breast cancer using tangents. Responses from 10 different radiation oncology departments revealed variation in most areas of the survey. There is no reason to assume similar variations do not occur Australasia wide. Studies involving overseas radiation oncologists also reveal a wide variation in treating early breast cancer. The consequences of such variations remain unclear.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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