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Intrabeam radiotherapy, boon for breast cancer patients

The new single-dose "intrabeam radiotherapy" could prove very helpful for women suffering from breast cancer, which could be administered to them during surgery. They will not need it as a course of treatment.

The National Institute for Health and Care excellence (Nice) in a draft guidance stated that the cancer therapy will work best for people diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. A single dose of radiotherapy could prove "more convenient" for patients.

Early stage breast cancer is one in which the tumour has not spread and is restricted to the breast area.

The new draft guidance, outlined that patients who had undergone the treatment should be put on a national register for specialists to assess the results.

About 41,500 women and 300 men in UK are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Of these about 86 per cent, or 35,970 people per year, could possibly benefit from the therapy, according to Nice.

The charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer said in a statement, "Whilst this is just an initial decision from Nice we look forward to their final decision which we very much hope will remain positive."

The health finance supervisory body has given this revolutionary radiotherapy a provisional approval for use by NHS.

Professor Carole Longson, director of health technology evaluation at Nice, said in a statement: "It's still a new treatment - so far only six centres in the UK have used the Intrabeam Radiotherapy System to treat early breast cancer. Because it is still relatively new it is only right to recommend its use in a carefully controlled way. This will ensure patients are fully aware of the risks and benefits before choosing which treatment to have and allow doctors to gather more information about the treatment."