Black women are less likely to be offered hypofractionated radiation therapy, an increasingly popular breast cancer treatment, than White women. Hypofractionated radiation therapy, also called hypofractionation, aims to destroy cancer cells in the breast, but with larger radiation doses in fewer overall sessions.
Whereas conventional radiation typically requires 25 to 30 sessions, hypofractionation requires 15 to 19. With fewer sessions, patients experience fewer side effects, such as fatigue and loss of appetite. Hypofractionation also reduces the need to travel to a cancer center often, making this option more convenient for many patients.
Studies find that hypofractionation is just as effective and less costly compared to conventional radiation therapy. For these reasons, hypofractionation use has increased. However, use of the treatment appears to lag behind for certain populations, especially for Black women.
- See “Black Women Face Barriers to Breast Cancer Treatment, Study Finds” by Kara-Marie Hall on the Verywell Health website (November 26, 2020)
- See the abstract of the scientific paper “Trends in Use of Hypofractionated Whole Breast Radiation in Breast Cancer: An Analysis of the National Cancer Database” by Steven G Woodward et al.