Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) uses high-energy rays to kill breast cancer. It may be recommended before surgery to shrink a tumor first. And for some patients radiation is given after surgery to destroy any breast cancer cells that remain in the area. It affects cells only in the part of the body that is treated. Radiation therapy is planned and administered by a radiation oncologist. At Compass Oncology, the radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and breast surgical oncologists all work together to treat each patient.
Our oncologists have access to two types of radiation therapy to treat breast cancer. Some women receive both types:
External radiation therapy: The radiation comes from a large machine outside the body. You will go to a hospital or clinic for treatment. Treatments are usually 5 days a week for 4 to 6 weeks. External radiation is the most common type used for breast cancer.
Internal radiation therapy (implant radiation therapy or HDR brachytherapy): The doctor places one or more thin tubes inside the breast through a tiny incision. A radioactive substance is loaded into the tube. The treatment session may last for a few minutes, and the substance is removed. When it’s removed, no radioactivity remains in your body. Internal radiation therapy may be repeated over the course of a week or two.
Learn more about other types of breast cancer treatments including: