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Breast cancer radiotherapy treatments calculated to have environmental impact

Giving radiotherapy during surgery to early-stage breast cancer patients could save millions of travel miles and carbon dioxide emissions, according to a study.

Giving radiotherapy during surgery to early-stage breast cancer patients could save millions of travel miles and carbon dioxide emissions, according to a study.

The standard treatment for early breast cancer is lumpectomy – surgery to remove cancerous tissue – followed by a course of radiotherapy delivered daily for three to six weeks.

If a single dose intraoperative radiotherapy, known as TARGIT, is administered during surgery, then in most cases daily hospital visits for standard radiotherapy, known as external beam radiotherapy (EBRT), are avoided. TARGIT is not yet widely available in the UK’s 62 hospitals with radiotherapy units.

Researchers looked at the travel implications, journey times and environmental impact of TARGIT and EBRT in 485 patients, 249 of whom were randomly assigned to TARGIT and 236 of them to EBRT.

In total, TARGIT patients were found to have travelled 21,681 miles for treatment

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