Due to COVID-19 we are now offering TeleHealth Office Visits via video or phone call. Learn More >
We have prepared for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We have updated policies to protect our patients and staff. Learn more.

Advances In Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

The annual prevalence of breast cancer stands at 270,000 women. The treatment has usually included surgery, followed by radiation to eliminate the risk of re-occurrence. Today there are significant advancements in treating breast cancer. Here are some of the improvements:

  1. The Prone Position Reduces the Risk of Radiation

Radiation can affect the lungs and heart, especially if the left breast is the one being treated.

Fortunately, the other lung can continue to function if one is scarred, but the heart does not have a substitute. Any damages to the heart take a long time before diagnosing (sometimes years or decades). Therefore, physicians need to take care of the patient’s heart to avoid future complications.

The best way to reduce the risk is to position the patient in the prone position. The breast falls away from the lungs and heart, thus eliminating the risk of scarring them.

  1. The Deep Inspiration Breath Hold(DIBH) Technique

The HIBH technique aims to push the heart away from the breast during therapy. The patient takes a deep breath for as long as possible, and when they let go, the treatment stops.  

  1. Short but Intense Treatment Time

Radiation therapy for breast cancer takes six weeks. The patient is expected to go for treatment every weekday. The treatment can have undesirable side effects.

However, there is a new treatment regime that takes only three weeks. 

The treatment is known as hypofractionated radiation therapy. Physicians give higher doses of the medicine, so the patient attends three instead of six weeks of treatment. 

Women who go for hypofractionated radiation therapy experience milder side effects than those who go for traditional six-week radiation therapy.

For the Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) after lumpectomy, the physician focuses the beam of radiation or using balloons and catheters to put the radioactive seeds where the breast lump was removed. The therapy is given twice a day for a week (weekdays only).

Please note that the techniques are not suitable for all patients, so talk to your physician before using any highlighted method.

More Choice Cancer Care Centers