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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    Is there anything that helps dry hair and dry skin when on tamoxifen ?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 2 answers
    • Tamara Davidson Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I been takin baths 2 times a week in Epsom salt feels amazing , I ain't on tamoxifen,, but I'm taking chemo intravenously

      Comment
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Chemo here- oatmeal baths, calendula soap or Aveno Baby - Calm Essence for face, Coconut oil with massage- I am blessed my daughter is a massage therapist!

      2 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    Is a pink discharge normal after chemo? I had my third round 5 days ago.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      The pink discharge, no doubt, has something to do with the treatment. These are powerful drugs that can have an effect on all parts of your body. Please call you oncologist's office to report this. It is probably a side effect but we aren't doctors. It is always good to check in with your...

      more

      The pink discharge, no doubt, has something to do with the treatment. These are powerful drugs that can have an effect on all parts of your body. Please call you oncologist's office to report this. It is probably a side effect but we aren't doctors. It is always good to check in with your oncologist when something out of the ordinary happens. Take care, Sharon.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Thanks Sharon , I plan on calling today. I thought the side effects would lesson with each treatment, I am on my third with one more Togo, but the side effects from this last one have been as bad as the first!!

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Are you able to use your arm normally after an auxillary node dissection? Does it affect day to day life?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Jayme, I had a lot of limited mobility in my right arm. I tried doing exercises at home to improve this but in the end I decided to go to a Physical Therapist. I've been seeing her for 2 months now and she has helped my tremendously!!! Before..I couldn't take my shirt off by myself. But now, I...

      more

      Hi Jayme, I had a lot of limited mobility in my right arm. I tried doing exercises at home to improve this but in the end I decided to go to a Physical Therapist. I've been seeing her for 2 months now and she has helped my tremendously!!! Before..I couldn't take my shirt off by myself. But now, I can...plus reach places I couldn't before. if you decide to go to one....I highly suggest someone that is experienced with working with women who've had mastectomies and specialize in soft tissue massage as well. She not only makes me do exercises.....she begins with doing massage in my restricted area. It's been a life saver for me since I'll be going back to work on the 4th of June. Hugs Jayme.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had an auxiliary node dissection about 2 months ago. I was told to gradually stretch my arm with wall walks and not to lift anything over 10 pounds. Now I have pretty good mobility, but was told by a PT to stretch my arm more before I have radiation therapy (I'm in chemo therapy now). I do have...

      more

      I had an auxiliary node dissection about 2 months ago. I was told to gradually stretch my arm with wall walks and not to lift anything over 10 pounds. Now I have pretty good mobility, but was told by a PT to stretch my arm more before I have radiation therapy (I'm in chemo therapy now). I do have numbness in my armpit and back of my arm & am at risk for infection because of the lymph node removal & shouldn't have my blood pressure or blood drawn on that side forever. Hope this helps.

      1 comment
  • anonymous Profile

    Usually, how soon after lumpectomies and ending radiation treatment do you have a mammogram to see that everything looks clear?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2012
    over 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I went for a monogram 1 year after

      Comment
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I went for a monogram 1 year after

      Comment

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