20 Apr Understanding Radiation Therapy in Breast Cancer Treatment
Radiation therapy is a common treatment option for breast cancer. It involves the use of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells and prevent their growth. The treatment is usually administered after surgery and is designed to destroy any remaining cancer cells that may be present in the breast or surrounding tissues. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of radiation therapy and how it is used to treat breast cancer.
Types of Radiation Therapy
There are two main types of radiation therapy used to treat breast cancer: external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy. External beam radiation therapy involves the use of a machine that directs high-energy radiation beams to the affected area. On the other hand, brachytherapy involves the placement of radioactive seeds or pellets directly into the breast tissue. The choice of radiation therapy depends on the type and stage of breast cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health.
The Radiation Therapy Process
The radiation therapy process typically involves several steps. The first step is a simulation, where the patient undergoes imaging tests to determine the exact location and shape of the cancerous area. The radiation oncologist then uses this information to plan the treatment. During the treatment itself, the patient lies on a table, and the radiation machine is positioned to deliver the radiation precisely to the affected area. The treatment is usually administered five days a week for several weeks.
Side Effects of Radiation Therapy
While radiation therapy is highly effective in treating breast cancer, it can also cause side effects. The most common side effect is skin irritation, which can range from mild redness to severe blistering. Other side effects may include fatigue, nausea, and breast swelling. Fortunately, most side effects are temporary and can be managed with medication or other treatments.
After radiation therapy, patients will need to undergo regular follow-up care to monitor their progress and detect any signs of cancer recurrence. This may involve regular imaging tests and physical exams. Patients should also be aware of the potential long-term side effects of radiation therapy, such as a higher risk of developing another type of cancer. However, the benefits of radiation therapy in treating breast cancer far outweigh the risks.
In conclusion, radiation therapy is an essential treatment option for breast cancer patients. It is highly effective in destroying cancer cells and preventing their growth and can be used in combination with other treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy. While the treatment can cause side effects, these are usually temporary and can be managed with medication or other treatments. Regular follow-up care is essential for monitoring patients’ progress and detecting any signs of cancer recurrence; with advances in radiation therapy technology, breast cancer patients can expect to receive more targeted and precise treatment, leading to better outcomes and a higher quality of life.
At CenterPoint Radiation Oncology, we understand how difficult it can be to receive a breast cancer diagnosis. That’s why we’re committed to providing world-class radiation treatment to our patients. If you or a loved one is facing this difficult journey, we want you to know that you have options. Our team, led by Dr. Morrell, is here to support you every step of the way. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us today. We’re here to help you fight this disease and regain your health.