Breast Cancer Radiation Therapy, Treatment & Side Effects
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Video: Breast Cancer RadiationBreast Cancer Radiation
Breast Cancer Radiation
Listen to Dr. Oneita Taylor, one of our experienced radiation oncologists, discuss some of the advanced treatments for breast cancer we offer in our hospitals.
Breast Cancer Radiation Therapy
Many breast cancer patients come to Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) with advanced stage disease. In addition, many others have previously received traditional radiation treatments and cannot tolerate more radiation exposure.
Our breast cancer experts use sophisticated radiation therapy delivery systems to treat all forms of breast cancer. Our leading-edge technologies make it possible for our doctors to re-treat previously treated areas that have a recurrence of cancer.
Radiation treatments for breast cancer involve the use of high-energy radiation and/or radioactive substances to destroy breast cancer cells or prevent the cells from reproducing.
Types of Breast Cancer Radiation
Our radiation oncologists excel in both external and internal radiation therapy for the treatment of breast cancer:
- External Radiation: Delivers high doses of radiation to breast cancer cells from a machine outside the body.
- Internal Radiation: Delivers high doses of radiation from implants placed directly into or near a breast tumor.
For instance, when the breast tumor is large or not easily removed by surgery, radiation therapy before surgery can help to shrink the breast tumor. After breast-sparing surgery, radiation treatments can help destroy any remaining breast cancer cells.
Breast Cancer Radiation Therapy Options
The following are some breast cancer radiation therapies available at CTCA:
Addressing Breast Cancer Radiation Therapy Side Effects
When radiation passes through the skin, the skin cells in the treatment area become damaged. If you receive frequent radiation, your skin cells often do not have enough time to repair and regenerate in between treatments.
Thus, common breast cancer radiation side effects may include redness, dryness or irritation of the skin in the treated area. Another common side effect is fatigue, especially in the later weeks of treatment and for some time afterward.
By employing innovative radiation techniques, CTCA radiation oncologists are able to deliver higher radiation doses to breast cancer cells while limiting damage to healthy tissue. Your radiation oncologist may also recommend radioprotective drugs, such as amifostine, to help guard healthy tissue from exposure to radiation.
If skin irritation occurs, your doctors will provide various comfort measures. For example, you may receive topical drugs in the form of therapeutic creams or ointments. You may also receive antibiotics to fight infection or pain medications to relieve discomfort.
Throughout your treatment for breast cancer, your CTCA care team will provide various supportive therapies to help you cope better with potential breast cancer radiation side effects. For instance, mind-body medicine can help you relax with techniques like distraction and guided imagery. Image enhancement can help you look and feel better about yourself.
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