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Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

 

Our radiation oncologists and dedicated medical physicists and therapists have extensive experience in the latest techniques that provide precise radiation treatment to patients. To ensure the highest chance of obtaining a cure, while minimizing the risks for radiation side effects, the Maimonides radiation oncology team utilizes the most sophisticated treatment planning equipment to pinpoint tumors and spare normal tissues unnecessary toxicity.

Once a treatment plan is developed, our radiation oncology team uses the most advanced technology available for radiation delivery, including Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) and High Dose Rate Brachytherapy. Dedicated to patient safety, we continually perform vigorous and sophisticated testing for quality assurance, and the Maimonides Cancer Center’s radiation therapy unit has received recognition as one of the safest and most accurate units in the country.

 

External Beam Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation therapy involves a series of daily outpatient treatments to accurately deliver radiation to the breast.

  • Painless radiation treatments are delivered in a series of daily sessions. Each treatment will last less than 30 minutes, Monday through Friday, for four to seven weeks.
  • The usual course of radiation treats only the breast, although treatment of the lymph nodes around the collarbone or the underarm area is sometimes needed.
  • 3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) combines multiple radiation treatment fields to deliver very precise doses of radiation to the breast and spare surrounding normal tissue.
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a form of 3D-CRT that further modifies the radiation by varying the intensity of the radiation beams. It is currently being studied for treating breast cancer.
  • Side effects might include skin irritation, like a mild to moderate sunburn, mild to moderate breast swelling and fatigue.

Partial Breast Irradiation

Doctors are studying ways to deliver radiation to only part of the breast.

  • Available in a few clinics for a very select group of patients, these techniques are used after a lumpectomy to deliver radiation to the tumor site rather than the entire breast.
  • Breast brachytherapy involves placing flexible plastic tubes called catheters into the breast. Over one to five days, the catheters or the balloon are connected to a brachytherapy machine so high doses of radiation can treat the nearby breast tissue.
  • Other techniques include 3-D conformal partial breast irradiation.
  • The long-term results of these techniques are still being studied. Talk with your radiation oncologist if you would like more information.

Radiation After Mastectomy

In cases where the breast is surgically removed, your doctor may suggest radiation therapy for the chest wall and nearby lymph node areas.

  • Whether or not radiation therapy should be used after removal of the breast depends on several factors, including whether lymph nodes are involved, tumor size and surgical margins.
Find out more and speak with a specialist.

Call 718-765-2520 to make an appointment with a breast cancer specialist or request an appointment online today.