Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer
Radiation therapy uses high-powered X-rays, seeds or radioactive material to shrink or destroy your tumor.
- Image Guidance Makes Targeting Tumors More Precise
At Scott & White, we use Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) during the course of our radiation oncology treatments in areas of the body that are prone to movement. IGRT is the use of frequent imaging during your radiation therapy treatment to ensure absolute accuracy of treatment.
Benefits of IGRT include:
- Patient and tumor motion tracked with the use of image guidance
- Radiation beam adjusted in response to current tumor image to maintain accuracy and reduce likelihood of harming nearby tissue
- Helps target tumors to sub-millimeter accuracy
- Features computerized robotic deliver and stereotactic localization imaging
- Requires an imaging series, which is transferred to computer, before treatment begins
- Used in conjunction with IMRT, 3DCRT and stereotactic radiotherapy
For more information, see Image-Guided Radiation Therapy at RadiologyInfo.org.
As technology has gotten better, we've found that we can deliver much higher doses of radiation, where we’re killing a lot more cancer, or cancer cells, than we were before. We can deliver the radiation to the tumor and spare the normal tissues around the tumor, which is allowing us to have much better outcomes and much higher tumor control.
Scott & White’s Approach
Scott & White’s mission to provide personalized, comprehensive care is the foundation for our radiation therapy program.
Our approach at Scott & White is in individualizing therapy. “We calculate your dosage cloud so that it will look exactly like the shape of your tumor,” says Nitika Thawani, MD, Radiation Oncology.
Our radiation oncologists take meticulous care in determining the precise radiation therapy protocol for you. Several factors impact their decision, including the type, location and stage of your specific tumor and your overall medical condition.
How Radiation Therapy Is Used to Treat Breast Cancer
Your physician team may recommend radiation therapy for your breast cancer.
Radiation therapy is recommended in some cases:
- As the first line of treatment for some early-stage breast cancers.
- In conjunction with other treatments for breast cancer.
- For tumors that have returned after surgery.
- In conjunction with chemotherapy after surgery to help destroy any remaining cancer cells. This kind of radiation therapy is called adjuvant therapy.
Types of Radiation Therapy
Scott & White offers the following types of radiation therapy to treat cancer of the breast:
- External-Beam Radiation Therapy
- Forward Planned IMRT for Breast Cancer: With this form of radiation, the X-ray beam is smoothed out, minimizing the effect on healthy tissues; there are fewer side effects with this treatment.
- Hypofractionated Radiation: This radiation treatment takes place over three weeks rather than six; it’s ideal for women with small to moderate breast sizes and who don’t require chemotherapy.
- Internal-Beam Radiation Therapy
- Partial Breast Radiation: This form of radiation treatment occurs after a lumpectomy. A device that emits radiation is placed inside the tumor site, emitting radiation over a five-day period.
Side Effects of Radiation Therapy
Each radiation therapy approach is different and each person’s reaction to it can vary. At Scott & White, your radiation oncologist will see you through treatment and help you manage any side effects.
For general information about side effects, see our health library’s radiation therapy page. For more specific information, please talk to your radiation oncologist.