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Breast Cancer Radiation Therapy Not Linked to Long-Term Heart Complications

Photodisc/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A new study has lessened concerns that early-stage breast cancer patients could be increasing their risk for heart complications from radiation therapy.

Researchers observed 50 patients with stage 1 and stage 2 breast cancer who either underwent radiation therapy (26 patients) to conserve breast tissue or a modified radical mastectomy (24 patients) that involves removing the breast.  They found that more than 25 years after treatment, both groups were at similar levels for heart function and for heart complications.

Researchers planned to present the study's findings Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology in Boston.

The study's lead author, Dr. Charles Simone II, a radiation oncologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, attributes the findings to safer, more precise radiation therapy available now.

"We are pleased to find that early-stage breast cancer patients treated with modern radiation therapy treatment planning techniques do not have an increased risk of long-term cardiac toxicity and that breast-conservation therapy with radiation should remain a standard treatment option," Simone said in a news release.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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