Scientists refine breast cancer recurrence predictions

In collaboration with the Press Association

Researchers have developed a more exact method of predicting whether women with breast cancer who have had a mastectomy and radiation therapy might have a recurrence of the disease.

The study, a collaboration by research teams in the US and Taiwan, was published in the April edition of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics.

The scientists hoped to develop better ways to predict whether the disease will return.

The current method measures tumour size and the extent to which the disease has spread to the lymph nodes.

"This new prediction model is important because identifying the higher risk patients sooner will allow doctors to more aggressively treat those cancers, in the hopes of giving patients a higher chance for a cure," said lead author, doctor Skye Hongiun Cheng.

The new method, which relies on five indicators including the patient's age, tumour size and whether their tumour responds to hormones, should also help those at the lowest risk avoid additional treatment.