Breast Cancers

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women. Breast cancer occurs when cells begin to grow and multiply abnormally forming a tumor. Lumps found in the breast cab be cancerous or non-cancerous.

Radiation therapy is a common and effective treatment option for breast cancer. It is often used in conjunction with other treatments like surgery and chemotherapy, depending on the stage and type of breast cancer. Here's an overview of radiation therapy for breast cancer:

Radiation Therapy Purpose:

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to target and destroy cancer cells. It is typically used after surgery (breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy) to eliminate any remaining cancer cells in the breast area. It can also be used before surgery to shrink tumors or to relieve symptoms in advanced cases.

Types of Radiation Therapy:

  • External Beam Radiation: This is the most common type of radiation therapy for breast cancer. It involves directing a beam of radiation from outside the body onto the tumor. The patient typically receives daily treatments over several weeks.
  • Internal Radiation (Brachytherapy): In some cases, radioactive implants or devices are placed inside or near the tumor. This is less common for breast cancer but may be used in specific situations.

Radiation Planning:

Before starting radiation therapy, the medical team will perform a simulation to determine the exact location for treatment. This involves using imaging techniques like CT scans to precisely map the area to be treated. The goal is to maximize radiation to the tumor while sparing healthy surrounding tissue.

Radiation Sessions:

Most patients receive radiation therapy as outpatient treatment. Each session usually takes only a few minutes, but the entire course of treatment can last several weeks. The frequency and duration depend on the specific treatment plan prescribed by the oncologist.

Side Effects:

Radiation therapy can have side effects, which may include skin redness, soreness, and fatigue. These side effects are typically temporary and can be managed with proper care and medications.

Long-Term Effects:

Radiation therapy is generally safe and effective. However, there is a small risk of long-term side effects, such as changes in breast appearance, breast tissue becoming less elastic, and an increased risk of radiation-induced cancers in the future. Your healthcare team will monitor your progress and address any concerns.

Combination Therapy:

Radiation therapy is often used in combination with other treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy, depending on the specific characteristics of the breast cancer and the individual patient's needs.

Follow-Up Care:

After completing radiation therapy, patients will continue to receive follow-up care to monitor their recovery and check for any signs of recurrence. Mammograms and other imaging tests are usually part of the follow-up plan.

It's important to note that the treatment plan for breast cancer, including radiation therapy, is highly individualized and tailored to each patient's unique circumstances. The decision on whether to use radiation therapy and the specific approach will be made by the patient's medical team based on factors such as cancer stage, tumor characteristics, and the patient's overall health.