Survey on the use of radiotherapy to treat early breast cancer following breast-conserving surgery in China
Aims. The use of radiotherapy to treat early stage breast cancer following breast-conserving surgery has markedly increased. The study aimed to evaluate the clinical practice of radiotherapy in China. Materials and methods. A survey concerning the characteristics of breast-conserving radiotherapy for early stage breast cancer was distributed to all radiotherapy departments in mainland China in 2009. The results were analyzed. Results. Three hundred and ninety-six departments replied (41.6%), and 328 (34.4%) launched breast-conserving radiotherapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy was the most common combination and was performed in 55.2% of the responding centers. The median time from surgery to radiotherapy was 9 weeks. Three hundred and nineteen (97.3%) centers treated the whole breast, 273 (83.2%) the supraclavicular area, 138 (43.3%) the axilla, and 85 (26.8%) the internal mammary region; 97.5% (310/319) of all centers performed irradiation of the whole breast in all candidates. One hundred and fourteen (41.8%) treated the supraclavicular area, and 37 (26.8%) treated the axilla in 1-3 positive lymph nodes. Eighty-six (31.5%) and 40 (29.0%) performed the corresponding irradiation in N2-3 patients. Fifty-six (72.9%) treated the internal mammary region for tumors of the center or inner quadrant. The conformal technique was used in 51.8% of the centers. Conclusions. Although a consensus has been reached, debate still exists about the target of postoperative radiotherapy in early stage breast cancer.
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