Apollo Cancer Centre launches fast forward Breast Cancer radiation therapy in West Bengal region. The existing treatment process for breast cancer takes almost six to eight months to complete including chemo, radiation and other treatments. With the help of latest technology, breast cancer radiation treatment now can be given in just one week instead of 3 to 5 weeks.
Based on the Fast forward trial in the UK (with 4,096 patients) the treatment was successfully given to a group of patients in Kolkata by Dr Sayan Paul, Senior Radiation Oncologist, ACC Kolkata.
Breast cancer is a type of cancer which can be cured completely if treated properly and detected early. Most breast cancer patients need surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy altogether as a curative treatment. It takes almost six to eight months or even a year to complete the treatment. Radiation therapy is an integral part of breast cancer treatment and almost all patients need it. The conventional schedule was of five weeks which has been reduced to three weeks based on a big UK trial called START trial. This is mostly practised in leading cancer centers in India. But now it can be further reduced to one week.
Elaborating on the issue Dr Sayan Paul, Senior Radiation Oncologist, Apollo Cancer Centre, Kolkata, said “Recently a large trial has been published from the UK called Fast forward trial where they have shown that one-week radiation treatment is equally effective and the side effects are also not much. This is a blessing for Breast cancer patients because visiting the hospital every day for 15 days is not very comfortable for a cancer patient. Moreover, in this COVID pandemic situation, it will be helpful for cancer patients if we can reduce their hospital visits. This also significantly reduces the logistics cost including stay and travel. As Radiation facility is available only in the big cities in India patients need to travel to distant places for radiation and the cost of travel and stay is significant.”
On this occasion, Dr Surinder Singh Bhatia, Director Medical Services, Eastern Region, said “At Apollo Cancer Centre we are always on the lookout for improving patient care by making optimum use of technology. It has been our mission to give ‘Tender Loving Care’ to our patients as holistically as possible whilst also taking into account the latest innovations in the field of onco care. We hope that with the introduction of the one-week radiation therapy for breast cancer patients, we can treat patients more effectively and efficiently.”
Dr Paul has already started this one-week treatment for a selected group of patients as per the Fast forward trial criteria. This treatment protocol will be very comfortable for breast cancer patients; especially those travelling from far-off areas and other countries to get their radiation in cancer hospitals as Radiation facilities are available only in selected big cities; although chemotherapy facility is available in many smaller towns. In West Bengal, radiation facilities are available only in Siliguri and Kolkata. Therefore, patients from different districts have to travel to Kolkata and stay there for their treatment. This one-week treatment will reduce their expenditure on stay and food significantly.