Radiation therapy is often a better experience than anticipated by patients.
A new survey finds breast cancer patients’ actual radiation therapy experiences largely exceeded their expectations. The survey, which addressed the fears and misconceptions regarding radiation therapy for breast cancer, found that more than three-fourths of the breast cancer patients surveyed found their experiences with radiation therapy, including overall and specific long-term and short-term side effects, to be less “scary” than anticipated, according to research presented today at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).
“Radiation oncologists know firsthand that our patients come in with fears and sometimes misconceptions. Unlike many other treatments and fields of medicine, it is very hard to imagine what radiation therapy is like,” said Narek Shaverdian, MD, lead author of the study and a radiation oncology resident at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). “Still, it is surprising to find that upwards of 90 percent of women surveyed agree that if future patients knew the reality of the radiation therapy experience, they would be less afraid of treatment.
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