Australian survey on current practices for breast radiotherapy

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Abstract

Introduction:

Detailed, published surveys specific to Australian breast radiotherapy practice were last conducted in 2002. More recent international surveys specific to breast radiotherapy practice include a European survey conducted in 2008/2009 and a Spanish survey conducted in 2009. Radiotherapy techniques continue to evolve, and the utilisation of new techniques, such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), is increasing. This survey aimed to determine current breast radiotherapy practices across Australia.

Method:

An online survey was completed by 50 of the 69 Australian radiation therapy treatment centres.

Results:

Supine tangential beam whole breast irradiation remains the standard of care for breast radiotherapy in Australia. A growing number of institutions are exploring prone positioning and IMRT utilisation. This survey demonstrated a wide variation in the benchmarks used to limit and report organ at risk doses, prescribed dose regimen, and post-mastectomy bolus practices. This survey also indicated, when compared with international literature, that there may be less interest in or uptake of external beam partial breast irradiation, prone positioning, simultaneous integrated boost and breath hold techniques. These are areas where further review and research may be warranted to ensure Australian patients are receiving the best care possible based on the best evidence available.

Conclusion:

This survey provides insight into the current radiotherapy practice for breast cancer in Australia.

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