Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to kill Breast Cancer cells. A doctor who specializes in giving radiation therapy to treat cancer is called a Radiation Oncologist in India. The most common type of radiation treatment is called external-beam radiation therapy, which is radiation given from a machine outside the body. When radiation treatment is given using a probe in the operating room, it is called intraoperative radiation. When radiation is given by placing radioactive sources into the tumor, it is called brachytherapy. Although the research results are encouraging, intra-operative radiation and brachytherapy are not widely used, and treatment is typically reserved for a small cancer with no evidence that it has spread to the lymph nodes.
A radiation therapy regimen usually consists of a specific number of treatments given over a set period of time. Most commonly, radiation therapy is given after a lumpectomy, and following adjuvant chemotherapy if recommended. Radiation therapy is usually given daily for a set number of weeks to get rid of any remaining cancer cells near the tumor site or elsewhere in the breast. This helps lower the risk of recurrence in the breast. In fact, with modern surgery and radiation therapy, recurrence rates in the breast are now less than 5% in the 10 years after treatment, and survival is the same with lumpectomy or mastectomy.
Adjuvant radiation therapy may also recommended for some women after a mastectomy, depending on the age of the patient, the size of their tumor, the number of lymph nodes under the arm that contain cancer, the width of healthy tissue around the tumor removed by the surgeon, the ER, PR, and HER2 status, and other factors.
Neoadjuvant radiation therapy is radiation therapy given before surgery to shrink a large tumor, which makes it easier to remove.
Radiation therapy can cause side effects, including fatigue, swelling of the breast, redness and/or skin discoloration/hyperpigmentation and pain/burning in the skin where the radiation was directed, sometimes with blistering or peeling. Very rarely, a small amount of the lung can be affected by the radiation, causing pneumonitis, a radiation-related swelling of the lung tissue. This risk depends on the size of the area that received radiation therapy, and this tends to heal with time. In the past, with older equipment and radiation therapy techniques, women who received Best Breast Cancer treatment in India on the left side of the body had a small increase in the long-term risk of heart disease. Modern techniques are now able to spare most of the heart from the effects of radiation.