“Deborah agreed to take part in a trial as she was keen to help other cancer patients in the future. "If taking part in a trial means others might be helped then I’m very happy with that."
A trial looking at giving 1 week of radiotherapy for breast cancer (FAST-Forward)
More about this trial
After having surgery to remove the cancer, doctors usually treat your breast and sometimes the
The researchers want to compare giving 1 week of radiotherapy with 3 weeks of radiotherapy.
The aims of this trial are to find out
- How well giving 1 week of radiotherapy works for breast cancer
- How safe it is to give 1 week of radiotherapy
- What the side effects are
Who can enter
You may be able to enter this trial if you
- Have stage T1, T2 or T3 breast cancer
- Have had surgery to remove the area of cancer (breast conservation) or your whole breast (mastectomy)
- Have had surgery to remove some or all of the lymph nodes under your arm
- Need to have radiotherapy to the area under your arm (axilla) and the area just above your collar bone
- Are at least 18 years old
You cannot enter this trial if you
This is a phase 3 trial. It will recruit over 4,000 people. It is a randomised trial. The people taking part will be put into 1 of 3 groups by a computer. Neither you nor your doctor can choose which group you are in.
The 3 groups are
- 3 weeks of radiotherapy (15 doses)
- 1 week of radiotherapy (5 doses)
- 1 week of radiotherapy at a slightly lower dose (5 doses)
You have radiotherapy every day (Monday to Friday).
The researchers are also doing some extra studies as a part of this trial.
In the first extra study the researchers will ask you to fill in a questionnaire before you start treatment, after 3 and 6 months and then 1, 2, 5 and 10 years after treatment. It will ask you how you are feeling and about any side effects you have. This is called a quality of life study. People joining the trial now must agree to take part in the quality of life study.
You don't have to agree to take part in the following extra studies.
They will also ask to take a photo of your chest before you start treatment, and then 2, 5 and 10 years after treatment. They will compare the photos to see how the radiotherapy has affected the appearance of your breast, if at all. This is called the photographic study.
They will also ask your permission to take a blood sample and a tissue sample from when you had your surgery. They will ask for another tissue sample if your breast cancer comes back.
They will ask you to fill in a questionnaire about your immediate family (blood relatives).
Your blood and tissue samples will be anonymous and stored safely. The researchers will use them to find out more about radiotherapy and breast cancer.
You go to the hospital for radiotherapy everyday from Monday to Friday. This will last for either 1 or 3 weeks, depending on which trial group you are in.
After you finish treatment, you see the trial doctors and have your breast examined every year for the next 10 years.
The most common side effects of radiotherapy to the breast and lymph nodes include
- Red, sore skin
- Shrinking of the breast
- Hardening and tenderness of the breast
- Swelling of the arm
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Prof John Yarnold
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme