Postmastectomy radiation effective with few involved nodes

Women with early breast cancer will benefit from post-surgery radiotherapy even if they have only one to three positive lymph nodes, a landmark study has shown.

The analysis looked at nearly 4000 breast cancer patients undergoing mastectomy in 14 trials from 1964 to 1982 who were randomised to either radiotherapy to the chest wall and surrounding areas or to no radiation.

Women who had one to three positive nodes were 32% less likely to have a recurrence and 20% less likely to die of their breast cancer if