Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor will walk you through your treatment options. One of those options might be radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy uses a high-energy beam to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells. By damaging the DNA of cells in its path, radiation can stop cancer from growing and multiplying. IMRT and external beam radiation are typically used for breast cancer.

While healthy cells can be damaged too, they are better able to repair themselves after treatment. And due to major technological advancements in recent years, radiation now targets cancer with pinpoint accuracy, sparing much of the healthy breast tissue. Patients experience minimal side effects as a result.

While it is possible for doctors to remove all of the cancer during surgery, individual cancer cells – small and invisible to the eye – may remain in your body. Over time, they can form a new lump and show up on a mammogram. That’s why your doctor may recommend radiation therapy as a way to kill off any remaining cancer cells after a lumpectomy or mastectomy.

Radiation is used in many treatment plans because it helps reduce the risk of cancer coming back after surgery. People who opt for radiation after a lumpectomy live cancer-free longer than those who get surgery alone. One study found that women who don’t get radiation have a 60 percent greater chance of getting cancer again in the same breast. You should discuss with your doctor what treatment options will work best for you.

Adena’s 9,000-square-foot radiation oncology unit uses state-of-the-art equipment to map and target breast cancer. With this pinpoint accuracy, patients can receive higher doses with fewer side effects. This leads to shorter treatment times and better chances for survival.

Four types of radiation therapy are available at Adena, giving you the most advanced and individualized care possible. Learn more about Adena’s radiation treatment options.

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