Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) uses high-energy x-rays, or other types of radiation, to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. There are two types:

  • External beam radiation is usually used after a lumpectomy as part of breast conservation therapy. It can be administered as partial breast radiation ( only a portion of the breast receives treatment) or whole breast radiation. In some cases it is recommended after mastectomy in more advanced stages of the cancer.
  • Brachytherapy places radioactive material inside your body using tubes or catheters placed inside the breast tissue.

Side-Effects of External Beam Radiation Therapy

  • Fatigue
  • Red, sunburn-like rash where the beam is aimed
  • Change in breast tissue (swollen or more firm)
  • Arm swelling if given in combination with axillary node dissection

Studies are underway to determine if women who have undergone a lumpectomy could benefit from partial breast irradiation. This involves higher doses of radiation aimed at only a part of the breast rather than the entire breast. The radiation dose can be delivered from an external beam, or from tubes or catheters placed inside the breast tissue (brachytherapy).

Spotlight

Advanced Ovarian Cancer Telephone Workshop on Friday, April 17, 2015.

Awareness

Radiation side effects can cause their own symptoms and suffering. Cervical cancer survivor @tranetteiswrite reports on the issue in her new piece.

Research

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2014-2015 Research Grant and Prizes. View the PDF.

Education

The next Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course is May 8 in Orlando, FL. For more information, click here.