A trial looking at giving 1 week of radiotherapy for breast cancer (FAST-Forward)

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Breast cancer




Phase 3

This trial is comparing 1 week of radiotherapy with 3 weeks of radiotherapy after surgery for breast cancer.

More about this trial

After having surgery to remove the cancer, doctors usually treat your breast and sometimes the lymph nodes Open a glossary item under your arm with 3 weeks of radiotherapy. We know from research it may be possible to give radiotherapy over a shorter period of time.

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

You cannot enter this trial if you

Trial design

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 2 groups by a computer. Neither you nor your doctor can choose which group you are in.

The 2 groups are

  • 3 weeks of radiotherapy (15 doses)
  • 1 week of radiotherapy at a lower total 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.

Hospital visits

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.

Side effects

The most common side effects of radiotherapy to the breast and lymph nodes include

We have more information about breast cancer radiotherapy side effects in our radiotherapy for breast cancer section.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

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.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Murray Brunt

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Caroline took part in a clinical trial for breast cancer

“I had treatment last year and I want to give something back.”

Last reviewed:

Rate this page:

Currently rated: 4 out of 5 based on 4 votes
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think