Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy is another "tool" doctors have available to help destroy cancer cells. Radiation typically follows a lumpectomy, to eliminate any mircoscopic cancer cells remaining in the breast tissue. It may also be prescribed if there is evidence of lymph node involvement whether or not you have a mastectomy or breast conserving surgery. Your doctor will discuss this with you, if radiation therapy can benefit your battle with breast cancer.

Radiation therapy might include: External Beam Therapy, Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy, or Interstitial Therapy (a.k.a. Brachytherapy).

External Beam Therapy: a beam of high-energy x-rays directly to the tumor site. These x-rays deposit their dose deep in the body to destroy cancer cells, while sparing the normal tissue around these cells. No radioactive sources are placed inside the body with this therapy.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): high-precision radiation that uses computer-controlled x-ray accelerators for precise radiation doses to a malignant tumor or specific areas within the tumor. IMRT enables the radiation to conform more precisely to the three-dimensional (3-D) shape of the tumor by modulating—or controlling—the intensity of the radiation beam. IMRT also allows higher doses to be focused to areas within the tumor while minimizing exposure to surrounding normal tissues, etc.

This type of therapy is only used in limited situations to treat breast cancer.

Brachytherapy involves placing radioactive material directly inside the body. This allows the doctor to use a higher dose of radiation to treat a smaller area, in a shorter amount of time compared to other radiation therapy protocols.

To read more about radiation therapy and possible side effects, please go to www.radiologyinfo.org.

Karen Moody ...© All rights reserved