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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

  • gima green Profile

    Would you have radiation if there were only 5% chance of the breast cancer coming back?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 3 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I did everything that was offered to me. If the cancer comes back it is much harder to fight.

      Comment
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Yes! I never took percentages into consideration. I did everything my team suggested. I wanted to live. Prayers to you.

      Comment
  • Chelita M Profile

    Is the second round of chemotherapy worst than the first?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 3 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Are you on Adriamyicin/Cytoxin for your first rounds? And Taxol for your next? If that's the case....my rounds of Taxol were quite a bit easier on me. I was tired but had less nausea than before. I had some changes with my nails (flattened out) as well.

      1 comment
    • Chelita M Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I don't know, I will ask my doctor. I know I am taking: herceptin, cerbotec, onicit among others. Btw, smoking marijuana could help cure cancer?

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    My eyebrows and eyelashes have thinned out considerably two months post chemo. I kept them all through chemo even though I lost all my hair. Has anyone else had this happen? How long before they grow back?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • maria stuccio Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Same thing happened to me. I'm 3 months post and they haven't come back. I thought it might be due to starting tamoxifen. I really miss my eyelashes!

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      LoL yes isn't it, but we got through it, now we just have to deal with the rehab of it all!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I will Start Chemo in September, I have Been Praying that I will get through this and still be able too work.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 7 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Anonymous... we are all so different. Each chemo drug is different and how we react to it. One can't predict how you are going to feel. You just have to put one foot in front of another and hope you won't lose much work time. The suggestion to look into a temporary disability plan would sure...

      more

      Anonymous... we are all so different. Each chemo drug is different and how we react to it. One can't predict how you are going to feel. You just have to put one foot in front of another and hope you won't lose much work time. The suggestion to look into a temporary disability plan would sure takt a burden off of you. Chemo treatments aren't easy but some people are able to work through it. If you are not one of them, do not beat yourself up because of it. This is tough stuff. Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • celien thorne Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Depends on your job setting what u do for a living physical , mental , working w the public etc .. I'm self employed have 4 kids 3 at home so I had to work " no paid sick days off", but I also took time off here n there because I felt too sick , you never know how your gonna react to chemo...

      more

      Depends on your job setting what u do for a living physical , mental , working w the public etc .. I'm self employed have 4 kids 3 at home so I had to work " no paid sick days off", but I also took time off here n there because I felt too sick , you never know how your gonna react to chemo everyone is different so take it as it goes cycle by cycle basis if u can , u can do it , stay strong !

      Comment

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