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Cancer. 1984 Dec 15;54(12):2911-8.

Cosmetic results following primary radiation therapy for early breast cancer.


In order to assess the cosmetic results of treatment, the results in 239 patients with early breast cancer treated by primary radiation treatment without adjuvant chemotherapy were reviewed. Four patients had bilateral cancers, making a total of 243 breasts available for analysis. Follow-up ranged from 24 to 78 months with a median of 33 months. The parameters measured were breast edema, retraction, telangiectasia, arm edema, and the overall cosmetic appearance. The cosmetic results declined over the first 3 years after treatment, but then stabilized. At 5 years, the overall cosmetic results were judged by physicians as excellent in 77%, good in 9%, fair in 9%, and poor in 5%. A fair or poor cosmetic result was highly correlated with the development of moderate or severe breast retraction. Telangiectasia was uncommonly the only cause of a fair or poor cosmetic result. Breast and arm edema were rarely noted to be significant, but were more common in patients who underwent axillary dissection. In 210 cases, a supplementary boost dose of radiation was delivered to the primary tumor area, and in 33 cases a boost was not used. This boost consisted of an interstitial iridium-192 implant in 204 cases and either high-energy photons or electrons in the remainder. At 4 years, no patient treated without a boost had a fair or poor result compared with 22% who received a boost (P = 0.13). The conclusion is that, in general, primary radiation treatment provides highly satisfactory cosmetic results for patients with early breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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