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

This special section in Self Magazine features a GYN surgeon and 34-year-old (at the time of diagnosis) patient.

Awareness

This year’s National Race to End Women’s Cancer aims to spread the word that all women should Love Your Ladyparts! Check out site’s new features and join the MOVEMENT.

Research

The Foundation’s research award winners will be notified in January. Thank you to all who sent in their applications.

Education

The next Gynecologic Cancer Survivors Course will be February 7-8 in Anchorage, Alaska. For more information on educational events and courses, click here.