Types Of Cancer That Are Treated With Radiation Therapy
External beam radiation therapy is used to treat many types of cancer.
Brachytherapy is most often used to treat cancers of the head and neck, breast, cervix, prostate, and eye.
A systemic radiation therapy called radioactive iodine, or I-131, is most often used to treat certain types of thyroid cancer.
Another type of systemic radiation therapy, called targeted radionuclide therapy, is used to treat some patients who have advanced prostate cancer or gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumor . This type of treatment may also be referred to as molecular radiotherapy.
I Guess Its Braless Then
As usual ladies thanks for your advice. I kept wondering what you all were wearing under those soft cotton tshirts that were recommended and now I know it was nothing! I will continue to wear the soft non underwire bras I bought until I find them too uncomfortable, then I will switch to whatever works. I do have a lot of comfortable cardigans that I can use to hide the floppiness. And who knows maybe the lotions they have me applying 3xs per day will help enough that Ill be ok. Well see. Its always something. Thanks again for all your help.
Treatments For Breast Cancer
If you have breast cancer, your healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for you. It will be based on your health and specific information about the cancer. When deciding which treatments to offer for ductal carcinoma and lobular carcinoma, your healthcare team will consider:
- if you have reached menopause
- the hormone receptor status of the cancer
- the HER2 status of the cancer
- the risk that the cancer will come back, or recur
- your overall health
How Can I Make A Decision Between Mastectomy And Breast Conservation Therapy
Breast conservation therapy is often used for patients with early-stage invasive breast cancers . It is also used for patients with DCIS . Some of the reasons to not have breast conservation therapy include: personal preference increased risk of complications from radiation therapy in individuals with certain rare medical conditions such as certain autoimmune disorders surgery that would require removing a large amount of diseased breast tissue that would lead to a poor cosmetic result and tumors that are more likely than average to have a relapse in the breast with breast conservation therapy.
Most patients may choose a treatment based on other factors, such as convenience or personal preference . Most women prefer to keep their breast if this is possible to do safely, but there is no right answer that is best for everyone. This decision is one that is ideally made in partnership between a patient and her physician. In some cases a pre-surgical consultation with a radiation oncologist may be helpful in answering questions about breast-conserving therapy.
Nearly all physicians will recommend patients be treated with mastectomy instead of breast conservation therapy when the risk of recurrence in the breast is more than 20 percent. This is the case if the tumor is large or multifocal . This situation occurs for only a small number of women, however.
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How Does Radiation Therapy Work / What Is Radiotherapy
Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is the use of various forms of radiation to safely and effectively treat cancer and other diseases. Radiation oncologists may use radiation to cure cancer, to control the growth of the cancer or to relieve symptoms, such as pain. Radiation therapy works by damaging cells. Normal cells are able to repair themselves, whereas cancer cells cannot. New techniques also allow doctors to better target the radiation to protect healthy cells.
Sometimes radiation therapy is the only treatment a patient needs. At other times, it is only one part of a patients treatment. For example, prostate and larynx cancer are often treated with radiotherapy alone, while a woman with breast cancer may be treated with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Radiation may also be used to make your primary treatment more effective. For example, you can be treated with radiation therapy before surgery to help shrink the cancer and allow less extensive surgery than would otherwise be needed or you may be treated with radiation after surgery to destroy small amounts of cancer that may have been left behind. A radiation oncologist may choose to use radiation therapy in a number of different ways. Sometimes the goal is to cure the cancer. In this case, radiation therapy may be used to:
- Shrink tumors that are interfering with your quality of life, such as a lung tumor that is causing shortness of breath.
- Relieve pain by reducing the size of your tumor.
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What Are The Types Of Radiation Therapy
- External radiation therapy
- External radiation therapy is given from a special machine . The patient never becomes radioactive.
- Internal radiation therapy
- Internal radiation therapy is when the source of radiation is placed inside the body near the cancer cells. The length of time the implant is in place depends upon the type of implant received.
What Are Late Effects
Most women have side effects during treatment for breast cancer and for a few weeks after treatment ends. Usually, these side effects get better slowly and then stop. But sometimes side effects do not go away. Or they can develop months or years after treatment.
There are two commonly used terms for these side effects:
- Long-term effects Long-term effects begin during, or shortly after, treatment. They last for more than 6 months after treatment has finished. They may go away on their own, with symptoms getting better over 1 or 2 years after treatment. Or they may be permanent.
- Late effects Late effects are a delayed reaction to treatment. They do not appear during treatment, but can happen months or even years later.
In this information, we use the term late effects to describe both long-term and late effects.
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What Are The Physical Side Effects
Receiving the radiation will not be painful. Side effects vary from person to person and depend on the site being treated. The most common side effects in the treatment of breast cancer are:
- Skin changes
- Uncomfortable sensations in the treated breast
Please talk to your doctor or nurse if you have concerns about side effects before you begin treatment or if you have questions about managing your side effects during treatment.
Possible Side Effects Of External Radiation
The main short-term side effects of external beam radiation therapy to the breast are:
- Swelling in the breast
- Skin changes in the treated area similar to a sunburn
Your health care team may advise you to avoid exposing the treated skin to the sun because it could make the skin changes worse. Most skin changes get better within a few months. Changes to the breast tissue usually go away in 6 to 12 months, but it can take longer.
External beam radiation therapy can also cause side effects later on:
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Use The Weekends To Recuperate Not Catch Up
Many people try to delegate to the weekends what doesnt get done during the week, but this can lead to exhaustion. Make your number one weekend priority be to rest and heal, rather than trying to complete your to-do list.
A Word From Verywell
Taking the time to prepare not only physically but mentally for radiation can pay off when the fatigue hits full force. While the treatments may seem to go on forever, in reality it is just a short hiatus from life. Let yourself rest and pamper yourself as you would a good friend.
What Are The Types Of Radiation Therapy Used For Cancer Treatment
Radiation therapy is one of the most common forms of cancer treatment. It uses high-energy X-rays to pinpoint and destroy cancer cells. Radiation damages the cancer cells causing them to stop multiplying.We asked radiation oncologist Valerie Reed, M.D., to explain some of the most common types of radiation therapy and how they are used. Heres what she shared.
Some types of radiation therapies are used to treat cancers near sensitive organs.
Four types of radiation therapy are frequently used at MD Anderson when a tumor is close to sensitive organs. These can be used to treat many types of cancer:
Internal radiation therapies use a radioactive source in or near the cancer site
Three common types of internal radiation therapy include:
External beam radiation therapies are delivered through a specialized machine directly to the cancer site
These include the following types of radiation therapy:
Before finalizing a radiation treatment plan, our doctors review the patients clinical history, pathology reports and imaging studies to determine the optimal radiation treatment for each patient.
As each treatment plan is customized, it is important to discuss your radiation treatment options with your doctor before starting treatment.
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Breast Discomfort Or Swelling
You may have some tenderness in your breast on your affected side, especially at your nipple. You may also develop extra fluid in your breast that may cause sharp, stabbing sensations. Your breast or chest may feel heavy or swollen. Your shoulder on your affected side may also feel stiff.
These sensations can start within the first few days of your radiation therapy. They can go on for many months after you finish radiation therapy. Below are suggestions to help you reduce this discomfort.
- If you wear bras, you may want to choose soft, loose bras without an underwire. Sports bras or cotton bras are good choices. You may even find it more comfortable to not wear a bra at all.
- Take pain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as needed. Some examples of NSAIDs are ibuprofen and naproxen . If you cant take an NSAID, you can take acetaminophen instead.
Why And When People Start Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is a flexible and safe treatment. Doctors may use it after surgery to remove cancerous tumors, as it can reduce the chances of a recurrence by destroying any remaining cancer cells.
If an individual has metastatic breast cancer, which is when cancer has spread to other parts of the body, doctors may also opt to treat them with radiation therapy to ease their symptoms.
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What Happens After I Complete Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer
Youll see your physician regularly after completing radiation therapy for breast cancer. He or she will evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment. This process will continue indefinitely, to ensure that you remain cancer-free. If the treatment is unsuccessful or your cancer returns, your physician will devise a new plan for addressing it.
What Are The Side Effects Of Radiation
Radiation therapy can have side effects, and these vary from person to person.
The most common side-effects are:
- Sunburn-type skin irritation of the targeted area
- Red, dry, tender, or itchy skin
- Breast heaviness
- Discoloration, redness, or a bruised appearance
- General fatigue
What should I do about side effects from breast cancer radiation?If you experience difficulty from side effects, you should discuss them with your doctor, who may be able to suggest ways you can treat side effects and help yourself feel more comfortable. These problems usually go away over a short period of time, but there may be a lasting change in the color of your skin.Here are some good general tips for dealing with the most common side effects of radiation:
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What Should I Expect On My First Visit
When radiation therapy might be of help, a family doctor, surgeon or medical oncologist will refer patients to a radiation oncologist.
The doctor will first review your medical records and X-rays. A physical exam will be done.
The doctors will then talk to you about his/her findings and decide how you should be treated. If radiation will help you, the staff will schedule the needed studies to develop a treatment plan. This is sometimes referred to as simulation.
During simulation, the therapist takes X-rays of the part of your body to be treated to help decide how the radiation will be given. Using the X-ray as a guide to the treatment site, the therapist uses a marker to outline the treatment area on your skin. This area is often called a treatment port or treatment field. These marks are very important. They act as a map of the treatment area and the therapist uses them each day to guide your treatment. Sometimes after a few treatments, tiny permanent dots can be used to replace the painted marks on your skin.
Radiation Therapy And Breast Reconstruction With Implants
If your treatment plan includes mastectomy, radiation therapy and breast reconstruction, discuss possible risks with your plastic surgeon and radiation oncologist.
Learn more about breast reconstruction.
New radiation therapy methods are under study in clinical trials.
Learn more about clinical trials.
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When Should I Call The Doctor
You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:
- Severe skin or breast inflammation.
- Signs of infection, such as fever, chills or weeping skin wounds.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Radiation therapy can lower the risk of cancer recurrence and cancer spread. The treatment affects everyone differently. Most side effects go away in a few months after treatments end. Some problems last longer. You should tell your healthcare provider about any problems you have while getting treatment. Your provider may change the therapy slightly to minimize issues while still effectively treating the cancer.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/19/2021.
When Will Radiation Therapy Be Given During The Breast Cancer Treatment Process
Your breast cancer specialist will determine the most effective order to administer various types of cancer treatment, including radiation therapy.
Breastcancer.org provides this set of examples for various treatment sequences that involve radiation for breast cancer:
- surgery radiation possible hormonal therapy
- surgery chemotherapy radiation possible hormonal therapy
- chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or hormonal therapy surgery radiation possible hormonal therapy
For patients who require chemotherapy, it is typically given before radiation. Chemotherapy can sometimes be done before surgery, also called neoadjuvant, and sometimes after surgery, also called adjuvant. Radiation then follows chemotherapy. They are not usually given at the same time. Depending on what chemotherapy youre given, there can be anywhere from two weeks to a month between the last chemotherapy treatment and the start of radiation therapy.
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Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. It is often used to treat breast cancer. Your healthcare team will consider your personal needs to plan the type and amount of radiation, and when and how it is given. You may also receive other treatments.
Radiation therapy is given for different reasons. You may have radiation therapy to:
- lower the risk of the cancer coming back, or recurring, after surgery
- shrink a tumour before surgery
- treat breast cancer that comes back, or recurs, in the area of a mastectomy
- relieve pain or control the symptoms of advanced breast cancer
Doctors use external beam radiation therapy to treat breast cancer. During external beam radiation therapy, a machine directs radiation through the skin to the tumour and some of the tissue around it.
Some women may not be able to have radiation therapy because they already had radiation therapy to the chest or breast. Doctors may not offer radiation therapy to women with lung problems, damaged heart muscles and certain connective tissue diseases.
Why People With Cancer Receive Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is used to treat cancer and ease cancer symptoms.
When used to treat cancer, radiation therapy can cure cancer, prevent it from returning, or stop or slow its growth.
When treatments are used to ease symptoms, they are known as palliative treatments. External beam radiation may shrink tumors to treat pain and other problems caused by the tumor, such as trouble breathing or loss of bowel and bladder control. Pain from cancer that has spread to the bone can be treated with systemic radiation therapy drugs called radiopharmaceuticals.
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External Beam Radiation For Breast Cancer
Ninety-five percent of radiation treatment at Siteman is external beam from outside the body. Washington University Physicians at Siteman use CT images to plan where the radiation will be delivered and what dosage to give. Radiation is given daily, and usually over several weeks.
When appropriate, our physicians will use MRI technology to guide the delivery of radiation. Radiation oncologists at Siteman were the first in the world to develop this technique and use it to treat patients. Patients who receive MRI-guided radiation therapy often have a smaller or more limited disease the MRI ensures that the radiation fully meets its target. MRI-guided radiation sessions are longer in duration than traditional, external beam treatments.
Internal Beam Radiation Or Brachytherapy
Brachytherapy is a type of radiation therapy that generates radiation from within the body. In comparison with external beam radiation, which projects particles of radiation from outside the body, brachytherapy can deliver higher doses of radiation in a precise fashion, resulting in fewer side effects and shorter treatment times.
The type of brachytherapy that doctors use depends on the location of the tumor, how much the cancer has spread, and the persons overall health.
The doctor will use a tube or cylinder to deliver a radioactive substance into the body and place it in the tumor.
The doctor will use a needle or catheter to place radioactive material within a cavity either a natural one or one that surgery has created. For breast cancer, they will place it in the breast.
Brachytherapy can also involve either high-dose-rate or low-dose-rate treatments.
High dose rate
This type consists of multiple treatment sessions in which doctors place radioactive material in the body for about 1020 minutes before removing it.
Low dose rate
This type uses substances that release a constant, low dose of radiation over 17 days, during which time a person will likely stay in the hospital. Doctors will remove the radiation source after a designated amount of time.
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