Michael Chin Worcester Radiation TherapyA new study shows that single-fraction is just as effective as multiple-fraction radiation therapy to ease the pain of bone metastases. The International Journal of Radiation Oncology states that switching from multiple-fraction radiation therapy to single-fraction radiation therapy can not only be cost effective, but it could also improve patient’s quality of life.

Most frequently occurring in patients with lung, breast, and prostate cancers, bone metastases are a typical manifestation as the disease spreads throughout the body. About two thirds of patients with the above mentioned cancers develop bone metastases to the pelvis, spine, or other extremities.

The study between these two different types of radiation therapy has been an on going debate in recent radiation oncology news. The study between SFRT and MFRT has taken place in British Colombia because of their publicly financed health care system. In British Colombia, there are no financial incentives for doctors to choose one therapy over the other. Also, the BC Cancer Agency provides all of the therapy at no additional cost to their patients.

From 2007 to 2011, patients who received radiation therapy for bone metastases were picked out from the CAIS, which is British Colombia’s Cancer Agency Information System. There were 8,601 patients who received 16,898 different forms of radiation therapy for their bone metastases. Categories were split into two different sections: patients who received single-fraction radiation therapy, and patients who received multiple-fraction radiation therapy.

SFRT was used in about half of the radiation therapies and mostly to treat bone metastases in the ribs and extremities. The use of SFRT is close to fifty percent in Europe and in Canada. In the United States SFRT is used a lot less. The range of SFRT use in the United States ranges from 3 to 13 percent. Considering that preliminary research shows SFRT to be just as effective as MFRT, there is no reason not to settle with SFRT. The costs are less, the side effects are less for patients, and it is much more convenient for patients.

To read more about this study, check out the recent article in science codex here.