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Dr. Woodward on Proton Radiotherapy in Breast Cancer

Wendy A. Woodward, MD, PhD
Published: Friday, Jul 27, 2018



Wendy A. Woodward, MD, PhD, professor and chief, Clinical Breast Radiotherapy Service, Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses proton radiotherapy in breast cancer.

There are patients for whom the financial cost of proton radiotherapy is worth it, says Woodward. There are situations in which Woodward cannot treat what needs to be treated and maintain the normal tissue constraints below what they need to be. However, the majority of patients do not fall into this category, says Woodward.

Due to the cost, Woodward states that it can be difficult to convince insurance providers that patients will derive benefit from the therapy. The onus is on the randomized trial that asked the question of whether it is worth going from a standard heart dose of 3.5 Gy down to almost 0 Gy.

Woodward states that there is no question that a patient would want the lowest dose possible. However, physicians do not yet know if these patients need the lower dose therapy. That is what the trial will show, she says.


Wendy A. Woodward, MD, PhD, professor and chief, Clinical Breast Radiotherapy Service, Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses proton radiotherapy in breast cancer.

There are patients for whom the financial cost of proton radiotherapy is worth it, says Woodward. There are situations in which Woodward cannot treat what needs to be treated and maintain the normal tissue constraints below what they need to be. However, the majority of patients do not fall into this category, says Woodward.

Due to the cost, Woodward states that it can be difficult to convince insurance providers that patients will derive benefit from the therapy. The onus is on the randomized trial that asked the question of whether it is worth going from a standard heart dose of 3.5 Gy down to almost 0 Gy.

Woodward states that there is no question that a patient would want the lowest dose possible. However, physicians do not yet know if these patients need the lower dose therapy. That is what the trial will show, she says.



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