A lumpectomy followed by radiation improves breast cancer survival and lowers the risk of recurrence in women with early stage breast cancer, according to a new study.

Experts on the study say that this research validates their belief that women in the early stages of breast cancer don’t have to get a mastectomy.

The study published Thursday in the Lancet, shows that radiotherapy leads to significant clinical benefits with an overall 16 percent absolute decrease in the risk of breast cancer recurrence and a 4 percent absolute decrease in the risk of dying from breast cancer.

The study also shows that if radiation is not used the disease can metastasize and increase the chance of dying from breast cancer.

Researchers analyzed 17 different worldwide trials looking at the effects of radiation after a lumpectomy. The research, done by hundreds of scientists from around the world who study breast cancer treatments, an organization called the Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group, evaluated data from more than 10,000 women with breast cancer for an average of 10 years.

The research found that women who had radiation were at lower risk of dying 15 years after diagnosis compared to women who didn’t have radiation, 19 percent of women who had radiation therapy had a recurrence compared to 35 percent of women who didn’t.

“The analysis shows that radiation is highly successful in eradication of much of this disease,” the authors wrote.

In the latest study done by EBCTCG, investigators studying the effects of radiation on overall recurrence showed that radiotherapy led to a 50 percent proportional reduction in overall recurrence.

“A 50 percent proportional reduction in 10-year recurrence exceeds that from chemotherapy alone or hormonal therapy alone,” the authors wrote.

The analysis also shows that the success of radiation in reduction of recurrence varies according to a patient’s biological subtype of breast cancer.

The proportional reduction in risk of recurrence with radiation with ER-positive disease treated with tamoxifen, was nearly 60 percent, but only 35 percent for ER-negative disease.

“The data reinforce the important role that radiotherapy has in management of breast cancer, and the fact that the benefits of radiation are complementary to the advances in both surgery and systemic treatment is particularly rewarding. The incremental benefits of each component of treatment contribute to the ongoing success in reduction of breast cancer mortality rates,” the authors wrote.