loading... close

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

  • Mary Chase Profile

    I had my first chemo treatment and landed in the hospital due to a very severe reaction. As a result I will not receive more chemo. But how long does it take for the metallic taste to go away? I can barely tolerate any food or liquids!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 3 answers
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      Me too that metallic taste was awful. Remember the old lemon head candies, they helped me a lot

      Comment
    • Verena Munday Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I have had the metallic taste, every time.....The lemon dros really helped...I could drink buttermilk but every thing else was rough....if I brushed my teeth with baking soda it seemed to help.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What will 100% fight off my moms cancer for life. Chemotherapy or radiation? She chose surgery & radiation. She has several lumps in her left breast and lymph node and is at high risk. What is a better treatment and why?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      When posed with a question like this it is impossible to know the answer. Each woman diagnosis and cancer are different and unique. Without hearing the pathology of the disease, ours would be only a guess. This is a decision she has made because of the information she received, her perception...

      more

      When posed with a question like this it is impossible to know the answer. Each woman diagnosis and cancer are different and unique. Without hearing the pathology of the disease, ours would be only a guess. This is a decision she has made because of the information she received, her perception of the impact of the different treatments and her oncologist's guidance. You are a wonderful daughter for caring and loving your Mom and wanting to help her through this very tough time. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Ali S Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      It's never 100%, but I would suggest having a second opinion. Everyone's different, but I was surprised with lymphnode involvement, that they didn't suggest chemo too. Never hurts to ask another specialist before making a decision . I did. Same advice but I liked the second team of docs...

      more

      It's never 100%, but I would suggest having a second opinion. Everyone's different, but I was surprised with lymphnode involvement, that they didn't suggest chemo too. Never hurts to ask another specialist before making a decision . I did. Same advice but I liked the second team of docs better! Best wishes to you and your mother

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Any thoughts? I saw two Medical Oncologists. One said 4 rounds of TC, but if I'm BRCA positive, 20 weeks of ACT. 2nd Onc said 16 weeks of ACT no matter what.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 7 years 1 answer
    • julie s Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      16 or 20 weeks but how many treatments? (I'm having 6 rounds but 3 weeks apart so 16 weeks..)

      Comment
  • Patty Meyer  Profile

    Anyone have cataract surgery after chemo?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2012
    about 5 years 3 answers
    • sharon s Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My eyes have changed. My onc said just to get the pharmacy plus glasses until they normalize post treatment. I'm 9 mths out of AC and taxotare and I have one more Herceptin. Today was the first time I didn't want my plus 1 glasses. This isn't specific to cataracts. But I share to give you...

      more

      My eyes have changed. My onc said just to get the pharmacy plus glasses until they normalize post treatment. I'm 9 mths out of AC and taxotare and I have one more Herceptin. Today was the first time I didn't want my plus 1 glasses. This isn't specific to cataracts. But I share to give you hope that the changes might not be permanent. Now if I could only get my nails to grow.

      Comment
    • sharon s Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Patty. Are you ok. Jay checking on on you. Have heard about the survivor conference in TN. Any chance you can get some counseling or other face to face support.

      You sure have gone through it. I was in PT for 8 mths to get rid of chording. We finally did.

      Throwing you some good...

      more

      Patty. Are you ok. Jay checking on on you. Have heard about the survivor conference in TN. Any chance you can get some counseling or other face to face support.

      You sure have gone through it. I was in PT for 8 mths to get rid of chording. We finally did.

      Throwing you some good thoughts.

      2 comments

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

Looking for another topic?
Use the search box in the top right.

Footer 2

Inspire hope by becoming an advocate for breast cancer prevention.

spread the word