Breast Cancer Breast Radiaion Therapy

Radiation therapy involves using a large machine called a linear accelerator to deliver precise amounts of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. The radiation stops the reproduction of cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy tissues. Radiation therapy has been shown to improve survival in women with breast cancer.

Radiation therapy for breast cancer can be used:
  1. After lumpectomy or mastectomy, either alone or in combination with chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy, to reduce the risk of cancer re-growing in the breast.
  2. As the main treatment for breast cancer if the surgeon believes the tumor cannot be safely removed, if a woman's health does not allow surgery, or if the woman chooses not to have surgery.
  3. To treat cancer that has spread into the bones or the brain.
  4. To relieve pain or other problems if the cancer recurs.

Radiation therapy is painless. However, some women experience side effects, which can include:
  1. Redness, discomfort, and dryness of the skin in the treated area.
  2. Fatigue, usually starting two to three weeks after treatment begins.
  3. Reduced blood counts.

Sometimes women also experience a sore mouth or throat, or dry mouth, if these areas are irradiated.

During radiation therapy for breast cancer, women should:
  1. Contact the doctor if they develop unusual symptoms, such as coughing, sweating, fever, or unusual pain.
  2. Get enough rest and eat a healthy diet.
  3. Go for regular blood tests as required by the doctor.
  4. Be extra kind to the involved area. Avoid tight clothes or anything that rubs.
  5. Protect the area from exposure to the sun.
  6. Apply moisturizing creams after radiation is complete.