Japan hospital tests powerful breast cancer therapy
TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
This March 8, 2012 file photo shows actress Angelina Jolie at the Women in the World Summit in New York. Jolie authored an op-ed for Tuesday?s May 14, 2013 New York Times where she writes that in April she finished three months of surgical procedures to remove both breasts as a preventive measure. She says she?s kept the process private but is writing about it now with hopes she can help other women. AP Photo/Evan Agostini, fileA Japanese cancer specialist said today she has started the world’s first clinical trial of a powerful, non-surgical, short-term radiation therapy for breast cancer.
The National Institute of Radiological Sciences has begun the trial using “heavy ion radiotherapy” which emits a pinpoint beam that can be accurately directed at malignant cells, said Kumiko Karasawa, radiation oncologist and breast cancer specialist.
The study was launched amid renewed global interest in breast cancer and its treatment after Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie revealed she had undergone a preventative double mastectomy. Heavy ion radiotherapy has proved effective in combating other forms of cancer that have not spread, Karasawa said.
“We are able to conduct this trial because we have greater understanding of what types of breast cancer can benefit from this pinpoint treatment,” Karasawa told AFP. Development of medical apparatus that keeps soft breast tissue immobile for this treatment has also helped, she added.
Japan is a leader in the technology used in the treatment, and is home to three of the world’s six medical centers that have the gigantic 10-billion-yen ($97.2 million) facilities, Karasawa said.
The therapy has proved its worth on other forms of cancer.