Critical Nine-Week Window

Uterine cancer best treated by radiation therapy less than nine weeks after surgery

(RxWiki News) Radiation therapy is no picnic, but the sooner the better when fighting uterine cancer. Delaying radiation treatment after surgery doesn’t appear to help long-term recovery. 

A recent study evaluated the success rates of 1,450 women with uterine cancer. The study’s findings showed that 75 percent of women who began radiation therapy within nine weeks of surgery were alive and well 5 years later.

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Mohamed Elshaikh, MD, from the Department of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital, was the lead investigating physician.

Dr. Elshaikh said, “Our data suggests that a shorter interval of time between hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) and start of radiation treatment may be beneficial for patients.”

For the study, researchers reviewed the cases of 1,450 uterine cancer patients treated at the Henry Ford Hospital between 1988-2010.

The research team discovered 74 percent began radiation therapy (RT) within nine weeks of surgical removal of the uterus.

A total of 90 percent of women who did RT within this timeframe were still cancer-free at their 5-year follow-ups compared to only 43 percent of women who had delayed RT for nine weeks or longer after surgery.

Authors concluded, “Our data suggests that shorter interval time between hysterectomy and start of radiation treatment may be beneficial.”

This study was presented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in Boston, MA.

The research was supported by the Henry Ford Hospital. No conflicts of interest were reported. Prior to publication in a peer-reviewed journal, all research is considered preliminary.

Review Date: 
November 5, 2012