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

Visit the Sisterhood of Survivorship page to read “Dena’s Story” — by a vulvar cancer survivor who has shared her story and wise words, and channeled her energy into her National Race to End Women’s Cancer team.

Awareness

The CDC recently announced that fewer than half of American children are given the HPV vaccination.

Research

As of the July 23 deadline, 55 research abstracts were submitted in hopes of receiving one of only 6 grants from the Foundation. This points to a need for more funding so that the Foundation may award grants to every deserving applicant.

Education

The Gynecologic Cancer Global Health Forum will be Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014 in D.C.. For more information on educational events and courses, click here.