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My mother has recently had successful surgery for breast cancer (caught early and not spread). As a result, her consultant has suggested she can opt for a 1 week course of radiotherapy, not the standard 3 weeks, with this based on a paper due to be published (Fast Forward I believe). He has said the decision is hers however. As such, I’m trying to understand more about this option - how successful or conclusive was the trial, what are the pluses and / or minuses of choosing 1 vs 3 weeks etc. Any information (or direction to information) would be greatly appreciated Many thanks
Thanks for your query.
All of the 'nitty gritty' details of Fast Forward are unknown even by us at the moment until the study is officially published. What we do know is that the data has shown that a dose of 27 Gray in 5 treatments is equally effective at reducing the risk of recurrence at 5 years post diagnosis as 40 Gray in 15 treatments. There is minimal data for longer than 5 years. There is also minimal data about occurrence of late effect with the Fast Forward dose, but it would appear initially that acute and late side effects don't seem to be increased by having a larger dose per treatment.
The preliminary data shows there to be very few 'minuses' to choosing the shorter treatment over the standard course. Many women are being changed to the shorter fractionation at the moment in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, to minimise the risk associated with a daily trip to hospital for 3 weeks.
Your mother's oncologist will be able to give you more statistics compering the two different regimes, but I have also attached an article from 2016 that you may find interesting to read.
Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.
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