Patients who undergo lumpectomy surgery for treatment of their breast cancer almost always receive radiation therapy afterward.
This form of adjuvant (supplemental) therapy uses high-energy rays (such as X-rays) to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. Most commonly, radiation therapy is used to kill any cancer cells that remain in the breast, chest wall or underarm area after surgery. It is also used to treat the healthy breast tissue that remains after a lumpectomy -- not to kill cancer cells that may have remained, but to radiate the tissue to prevent it from creating breast cancer cells again.
There are two forms of radiation therapy available in our community.
- External beam radiation - A physicist and the radiation oncologist carefully plan where the beams should be aimed using advanced calculations and past scans of the patient. The patient lies on a table and the beams are aimed toward the breast cancer. This type of radiation can treat part of the breast (known as partial breast radiation) or the whole breast (known as whole breast radiation). Though the standard of care is six weeks of treatment, there are now three week protocols that have proven to be very effective. We use both methods at our Breast Center.
- Brachytherapy - This involves the use of a balloon inserted into the breast at the time of lumpectomy surgery. The radiation oncologist places tiny rods that carry radiation to the site where the cancer originally grew. Radiation can be completed in just a few days. This method is part of a clinical trial.
Read more about Radiation Therapy at The Chester County Hospital>>
Last Updated: 7/15/2013