Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

Jun 12


Rinki Rawat

Rinki Rawat

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Radiation therapy,Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer Articles also known as radiotherapy, is among most effective techniques to destroy cancer cells in the breast. The technique has capability to reduce the recurrence of breast cancer by 70 percent. Many people fear of the discomfort and aftermaths, but radiation therapy is far easier to tolerate and has limited after-effects than other treatment procedures. The procedure of radiation treatment is done under the guidance of radiation oncologist, a health care expert specialising in radiation therapy.

The technique is preferred over surgical procedure as it guarantees that all cancer cells are removed from the body. High-energy beam such as light and x-rays are targeted at the cancer cells to damage them. The high-energy beams, which are invisible to the human eye, damage cancer cell’s DNA so that it does not divide any further. The radiations directed at cancer cells may also damage few normal cells in the path, making body vulnerable to complications.

Cancer cells in breast cancer grow and multiply at a rapid pace. This progression is slowed or stopped by the effect of radiations. As cancer cells get distorted everywhere and healthy cells are less organised, it becomes difficult to repair the damage done by radiation. But, the cancer cells are more easily destroyed by radiation therapy, while normal cells are better able to repair themselves and survive the treatment.

Ways to deliver Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy can be delivered in two ways to treat the affected tissues. First way is by assistance of a machine called linear accelerator that delivers radiation from outside the body. Using pellets or seeds that give off radiations from within the body is another way to deliver radiation therapy. These ways can treat affected tissues of the breast area and lymph nodes.

Types of Radiation

1. External Radiation: The most common radiation type, external radiation is ideally given after lumpectomy and mastectomy.
2. Internal Radiation: The treatment is usually done after lumpectomy.
3. Intraoperative Radiation: Newly discovered radiation treats  known as intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT). IORT is generally done after the cancer has been removed or during lumpectomy.

Side Effects of Radiation Therapy

The foremost side effect of radiation therapy is to the skin area which has been treated. The skin reaction looks similar to sunburn, but has more redness. The sunburn is accompanied by itching, soreness, burning and possible peeling. There is no escape as the radiations have tendency to influence skin and cause reaction.