Environmental and social benefits of the targeted intraoperative radiotherapy for breast cancer: data from UK TARGIT-A trial centres and two UK NHS hospitals offering TARGIT IORT.
Morgan, David A.
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Objective To quantify the journeys and CO2 emissions if women with breast cancer are treated with risk-adapted single-dose targeted intraoperative radiotherapy (TARGIT) rather than several weeks' course of external beam whole breast radiotherapy (EBRT) treatment. Setting (1) TARGIT-A randomised clinical trial (ISRCTN34086741) which compared TARGIT with traditional EBRT and found similar breast cancer control, particularly when TARGIT was given simultaneously with lumpectomy, (2) 2 additional UK centres offering TARGIT. Participants 485 UK patients (249 TARGIT, 236 EBRT) in the prepathology stratum of TARGIT-A trial (where randomisation occurred before lumpectomy and TARGIT was delivered simultaneously with lumpectomy) for whom geographical data were available and 22 patients treated with TARGIT after completion of the TARGIT-A trial in 2 additional UK breast centres. Outcome measures The shortest total journey distance, time and CO2 emissions from home to hospital to receive all the fractions of radiotherapy. Methods Distances, time and CO2 emissions were calculated using Google Maps and assuming a fuel efficiency of 40mpg. The groups were compared using the Student t test with unequal variance and the non-parametric Wilcoxon rank-sum (Mann-Whitney) test. Results TARGIT patients travelled significantly fewer miles: TARGIT 21681, mean 87.1 (SE 19.1) versus EBRT 92591, mean 392.3 (SE 30.2); had lower CO2 emissions 24.7kg (SE 5.4) vs 111kg (SE 8.6) and spent less time travelling: 3h (SE 0.53) vs 14h (SE 0.76), all p<0.0001. Patients treated with TARGIT in 2 hospitals in semirural locations were spared much longer journeys (753 miles, 30h, 215kg CO2 per patient). Conclusions The use of TARGIT intraoperative radiotherapy for eligible patients with breast cancer significantly reduces their journeys for treatment and has environmental benefits. If widely available, 5 million miles (8000000km) of travel, 170000 woman-hours and 1200 tonnes of CO2 (a forest of 100hectares) will be saved annually in the UK.