• Radiologic Technology News

Skipping Radiation Therapy Risks Relapse

Feb 22, 2016

Cancer patients who miss two or more radiation treatment sessions are at increased risk for a return of their cancer, a new study finds. The report, published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, found that rates of cancer recurrence were 16% for patients who missed two or more radiation sessions and 7% for those who did not.

"This study shows that the health of our patients can improve only when a course of treatment is completed in the prescribed period of time," said study author Madhur Garg, M.D., in a news release. "These findings should serve as a wake-up call to physicians, patients and their caregivers about the critical need to adhere to a recommended treatment schedule."

The study included more than 1,200 patients who had radiation therapy for head and neck, breast, lung, cervical, uterine or rectal cancer between 2007 and 2012. Of those patients, 22% missed two or more scheduled radiation treatment appointments.

While all patients eventually completed their radiation therapy regimens, they were prolonged an average of one week for those who missed two or more treatment sessions.

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