The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which provides guidance to improve health and social care in the United Kingdom, approved intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), which is set to be offered on the British National Health System (NHS).
The alternative technique, which Radiation Therapy News has been reporting on this last month, is used for the treatment of breast cancer in patients who undergo lumpectomy surgery, may significantly cut down breast cancer patients’ exposure to radiation and time spent in the hospital, as it requires only a single dose, applied directly into the surgical site, immediately after surgical removal of a cancerous tumor.
This approval comes short after the Rush University Medical Center announced that IORT is available at its center.
In its draft guidance, NICE mentions IORT’s ability to improve the patients’ quality of life, allowing them “to carry out more professional and other daily activities” and causing “fewer general pain symptoms” compared with patients havinghaving external beam radiotherapy (EBRT).
Furthermore, NICE notes that it is expected that the need for radiotherapy should increase during the next few years and, since there are only 6 IORT devices currently availabe in the NHS, it is also expected that investment in this equipment would be high if it were recommended for routine use in the NHS.
The institute concludes that the technique should be recommended as an option for adjuvant treatment of early invasive breast cancer during breast conserving surgical removal of the tumour, as long as clinicians fully explain the treatment options available to patients, including their associated risks and benefits, and enter details about all patients having this treatment onto a national register.
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