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Treatment

 
Treatment

Chapter: 6 - Treatment

Subchapter: 7 - Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy, which commonly follows surgery, uses x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. People with Stage 0 (DCIS ) or Stage 1 invasive cancer and higher, who have had a lumpectomy, can expect radiation therapy to be a part of their treatment regimen.

Radiation therapy is administered by a radiation oncologist at a radiation center, and usually begins three to four weeks after surgery. The radiation is used to destroy undetectable cancer cells and reduce the risk of cancer recurring in the affected breast.

Let’s discuss adjuvant radiation therapies in further detail. Keep in mind that the course of treatment you decide is something you should discuss with your radiation oncologist in order to ensure that it is as effective as possible.

External Beam Radiation
External beam radiation (also known as traditional or whole breast radiation therapy) uses external beam radiation, like that of a regular x-ray, but the beam is highly focused and targets the cancerous area for two to three minutes. This form of treatment usually involves multiple appointments in an outpatient radiation center — as many as five days a week for five or six weeks. Certain situations may require a slightly higher dose of radiation over a shorter course of treatment, usually three to four weeks.

Internal Radiation
Internal radiation is another form of partial breast radiation. During the treatment, the doctor inserts a radioactive liquid with needles, wires, or a catheter in order to target the area nearest the cancer and kill any possible remaining cancer cells.

Radiation Side Effects
Radiation therapy can have side effects, and these vary from person to person. The most common side-effects are sunburn-type skin irritation of the targeted area, breast heaviness and discoloration, and fatigue. If you experience side effects, you should discuss them with your doctor, who may be able to suggest other more comfortable treatments.

You need to be aware that more intense treatment methods will tax your body. During radiation therapy, it is essential to take care of yourself by getting extra rest and making good nutrition a priority.

Related Questions

  • vicki e Profile

    Anyone been on halaven chemo?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    over 6 years Answer
  • Thumb avatar default

    How long after radiation do I go on the 5 year pill?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 3 answers
    • Lori Green Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My oncologist had me wait two months until my body stabilized.

      Comment
    • Lysa Allison Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My oncologist had me wait a month. You may want to talk with your doctor to see what they recommend. Good luck to you!

      Comment
  • vicki e Profile

    Has anyone had a Seroma appear weeks after surgery? It am 8 wks post op and thought I was all healed up and now this!

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    about 6 years 3 answers
    • P C Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 0 Patient

      Oh my, my answer was not finished LOL. Anyway, the Walgreens had a cold pack that was really handy. I just put it in the freezer and it was all ready for me in no time. I also bought a cool pad from Walgreens to lessen the side effects from tamoxifen *hot flashes. with my seromas, I found...

      more

      Oh my, my answer was not finished LOL. Anyway, the Walgreens had a cold pack that was really handy. I just put it in the freezer and it was all ready for me in no time. I also bought a cool pad from Walgreens to lessen the side effects from tamoxifen *hot flashes. with my seromas, I found keeping my arm elevated helped too. I do understand you discomfort, but know it will get better. Some surgeons do no like to drain them. My surgeon drained ony one, and only once. It really helped for only a short period of time. The cold packs helped most. Take care and know that it will get better. Hugs P.

      1 comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I did not have this happen but had to go wander the internet to quell my curiosity. I found this rather straightforward explanation. It is something that --just happens--. If it were happening to me, my question would be "WHY ME?" I hope someone answers you with personal experience. For the...

      more

      I did not have this happen but had to go wander the internet to quell my curiosity. I found this rather straightforward explanation. It is something that --just happens--. If it were happening to me, my question would be "WHY ME?" I hope someone answers you with personal experience. For the rest of us.... here is an explanation of a seroma and why it happens. I hope this will be the last negative remnant of your surgery.
      Take care, Sharon
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Mastectomy or surgical breast removal often leads to this abnormality. The operation is usually carried out to get rid of a malignant tumor in the breast. Seroma after breast surgery happens if the blood vessels of an area near the operated region accidentally suffer damage during surgery. The rupture of the blood cells gives rise to an inflammatory response in the body which releases blood plasma. The blood plasma is a colorless watery liquid of the blood. It usually suspends blood cells like leukocytes, thrombocytes and erythrocytes. This fluid, also known as serous liquid as it contains serum produced by the serous membranes of the body, gets accumulated as lumps under the skin. Seroma after mastectomy is a common condition.

      2 comments
  • Mary Chase Profile

    Just wondered when do some of the side effects start cropping up? I just had my first of four chemo TXs today. It went well. I'm just feeling tired.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I had 4 AC treatments day 2,3,4 were my toughest. I felt like I had the flu.... tired, achy but I had a horrible reaction to the steroid which amplified how I bad I felt. Nobody can really describe how you are going to feel. It is just how your body tolerates the chemicals. After about a week...

      more

      I had 4 AC treatments day 2,3,4 were my toughest. I felt like I had the flu.... tired, achy but I had a horrible reaction to the steroid which amplified how I bad I felt. Nobody can really describe how you are going to feel. It is just how your body tolerates the chemicals. After about a week I felt really pretty good. I just learn to plan to spend a lot of good couch time watching Netflix each first week of my treatments. Hang in there... you have one down and 3 to go!

      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I had taxotere, carboplatin n herceptin, by the third day after I was knocked for a loop. It depends on the cocktail and you, honestly you never know. Symptoms usually alleviate after a week or so. Try to drink water, a lot, it helps

      Comment

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