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Consensus Statement Issued on Using APBI to Treat Breast Cancer

The American Society for Radiation Oncology has published a consensus statement outlining patient selection criteria and best practices for the use of accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) outside the context of a clinical trial in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of ASTRO.

For decades, whole-breast irradiation (WBI), where radiation is delivered to the whole breast every day for five to eight weeks, has been the standard treatment for patients with early breast cancer treated with breast conserving surgery. WBI has been shown to reduce the risk of recurrence in the affected breast and increase the likelihood of long-term survival. However, recently there has been growing interest in using APBI, where radiation is used to treat only the part of the breast affected by cancer and the treatment time is decreased from several weeks to four or five days.

APBI has several benefits, including a decreased overall treatment time and a decrease in the radiation delivered to healthy tissue and adjacent organs, but its long-term safety and effectiveness compared to WBI are not yet known and results of randomized trials comparing APBI with WBI will not be available for many years. In the meantime, guidance for use of APBI outside of a clinical trial is needed.

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