10/26/2010 // US // Get Cancer Answers // News Desk

U.S. – A new study suggests receiving radiation treatment prior to surgery for rectal cancer may reduce the chances of the disease returning. As reported by HealthDay News, researchers found that patients who receive the treatment first, may cut their chances of the cancer returning by 50 percent.

Dr. Bernadine Donahue, vice chair and clinical director of radiation oncology at Maimonides Cancer Center in New York City, is quoted in the report as stating of the study, “The large Dutch experience has helped identify which subsets of patients will benefit from preoperative radiation therapy as a means of decreasing the risk of local recurrence. In the Dutch trial, an intense short course of radiation therapy was delivered prior to surgery. This clearly improved tumor control and that is good news.”

Donahue is further quoted as stating, “However, most North American facilities deliver [an] equivalent amount of radiation packaged as smaller amounts daily over a longer period of time to decrease the likelihood of long-term toxicity. It remains to be seen what the long-term side effects of the Dutch approach will be.”

As noted in the report, the research is set to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in San Diego next week.

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