While colo-rectal cancer rates are on the rise in the US, the death rates are decreasing.

While colon-rectal cancer rates are on the rise in the US, the death rates are decreasing.

Rectal cancer patients now have a BETTER choice – 5 days of radiation before surgery is just as good as 6 weeks of radiation treatment.  Dr. Smitha Krishnamurthi, a medical oncology expert at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland said the approach “is shorter, more convenient and less expensive… and appears equally active.”  She commented at the recent GI Cancer Symposium 2016 held in San Francisco. 

In the first key study, 515 patients with locally advanced rectal cancer – cancers too extensive to operate on right away – were given radiation and chemotherapy before their operations. Randomly assigned by computer, half of the patients were to have short course 5 day radiation and the other half were given standard radiation therapy of 28 treatments over 6  weeks.  All the patients also received chemotherapy.  Surgery was scheduled 3 months after starting radiation therapy. 

And the results with short course radiation over 5 days were outstanding.  The survival was the same in the  5 day radiation group as compared to the 6 week group.  But the short course group with 5 days of radiation had significantly fewer side effects. The short course has been  the standard of care in European and Scandinavian countries over the past decade. 

Does Radiation Increase the Risk of a Second Cancer?

At the 2016 GI Cancer Symposium, the second key study was that radiation for rectal cancer did not increase a patient’s risk for a second cancer.  In fact, radiation possibly offered some protection.  “These results were very striking,” said Dr. Claus Roedel, Chairman of the Department of Radiation Therapy and Oncology at the University of Frankfurt in Germany. Dr. Roedel went on to mention another study of almost 21,000 patients with rectal cancers in the US.  There was no increase in the risk for second cancer in patients who received radiation therapy compared to those who received no radiation therapy. 

First Dayton Cancer Care – Dayton’s Leader and Pioneer in Short Course Radiation

Since opening in 2003, the stated mission of First Dayton Cancer Care is to deliver the best in radiation medicine over the shortest  amount of time – but only when the radiation treatment is equally as effective as longer course radiation.  And we have over a decade of experience in short course radiation for a number of different cancers. 

Cyber Knife

           Lung cancer treatment in 3 to 5 visits

           Prostate cancer treatment in 5 visits

           Brain cancer treatment in 1 to 3 visits

Leipzig superficial Radiation

           Skin cancer treatment in 6 to 10 visits over 2-3 weeks

High-dose Rate Brachytherapy

            Breast cancer treatment in 1 week

             Locally advanced prostate cancer in 5 weeks

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me, Dr. Edward Hughes, at 855 Dayton1.  I guarantee that I will see any patients within 1-3 days of their phone call.