therapy is a treatment for cancer that uses high-energy X-rays. A machine
directs the rays of energy to the area of cancer, with a goal to kill or shrink
When might radiation therapy be used for breast
Radiation is most often used along with other breast cancer
treatments, like surgery or chemotherapy. Your doctor may advise radiation if:
- You have
an early stage breast cancer. This is called adjuvant treatment. Radiation
is often used after breast-conserving surgery. It is sometimes used after
mastectomy. The goal is to kill cancer cells that cannot be seen, but may have
been left behind after surgery, which lowers the chance the cancer will come
- You have
metastatic breast cancer. This means the cancer has spread. The goal of
radiation in this case is mainly to ease symptoms of the cancer. This is
sometimes called palliative treatment.
Types of radiation therapy
radiation. This is also known as external beam therapy (EBRT). It is the
most common type used to treat breast cancer. This treatment sends high levels of
radiation directly to the cancer cells. Since radiation is used to kill cancer
cells and to shrink tumors, special shields may be used to protect the tissue
surrounding the area being treated.
radiation. This is also known as brachytherapy or implant radiation. This
type of radiation treatment is given inside the body in the area of the cancer.
It gives a higher dose of radiation to a small area for a shorter time. The
radiation source may be put directly into the area of the breast tumor, or it
may be put in through a small tube placed near the tumor.