Study: Many cancer patients could be spared brain radiation

Published May 31, 2015 5:30PM (EDT)

CHICAGO (AP) — A major study could change care for many of the hundreds of thousands of people each year who have cancer that spreads to the brain from other sites.

Doctors found that contrary to conventional wisdom, radiation therapy to the whole brain did not improve survival, and it harmed memory, speech and thinking skills. Cancer specialists say the study shows that in this situation, patients will have a better quality of life with less treatment.

Cancer that spreads to the brain is different from tumors that start there, such as the one that just killed vice president Joe Biden's son, Beau Biden.

The study was discussed Sunday at a cancer conference in Chicago.

By Marilynn Marchione

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