Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Outside of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in American women.  Please be certain to be screened and perform monthly self-examinations.

Early detection promotes better outcomes. With early diagnosis, women can pursue curative treatment and have the potential of achieving breast preservation which holds important treatment, cosmetic and emotional benefits for many. 

If the goal is to achieve breast preservation, one must first undergo limited surgery to remove the lump, commonly followed by radiation therapy.  Unfortunately, a major trend has arisen in the application of breast radiation using an approach known as “hypofractionation”.  Hypofractionation simply means using fewer treatments to complete a radiation course.  In order to do this, the dose of radiation per treatment must be radically increased.  This is being pushed hard by a lot of institutions with overwhelming acceptance by insurance companies.  I am adamantly opposed to it and do not do it.  Higher dose per treatment unquestionably leads to more normal tissue damage in many patients and is dangerous and should be avoided.  I have more than 30 years of extensive experience following my own patients treated with radiation therapy for breast preservation with outstanding results - far superior to what is reported by the major institutions publishing data on hypofractionation. 

I believe all patients should be treated with the safest and best technique. 

If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, please call me.

Eric Karp, MD
Radiation Oncologist
Rahway Regional Cancer Center

Photo Credit: Breast Cancer Awareness Vectors by Vecteezy