What are Breast cancer and its symptoms?
Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of muscle in the breast. It is one of the very common types of cancers in women. Though breast cancer mainly affects women, men can also get affected by breast cancer. This causes a change in the size & shape of the breast. Some other symptoms include redness, a small lump, or little change in the skin of the breast or nipple. Clear or reddish discharge may also come out from the nipple.
When is radiation therapy used for breast cancer?
Radiation therapy is often paired with other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy. In the words of the best oncologist in Noida at Zeeva cancer hospital in Noida, Dr. Vikas, radiation therapy is usually performed in the following cases.
- Before surgery
Radiation therapy can be done before surgery to reduce the tumor size. Though doctors rarely choose this option.
- As an alternative to surgery,
Some tumors that can’t be removed surgically due to their size or location are reduced in size through radiation therapy.
- After lumpectomy surgery:
A lumpectomy removes only the tumor through surgical procedures, leaving the rest of the breast intact. This can be followed by radiation therapy to prevent breast cancer from recurring.
- After mastectomy surgery,
Mastectomy is the removal of the breast to treat cancer in case the tumor is very large. Radiation therapy is done to make sure the breast cancer does not spread any further and does not come back.
- Preventing the spread of breast cancer
Stage 4 breast cancer spreads very vigorously and may need radiation therapy to prevent further spread or destroy the cancer cells.
Types of radiation therapy for breast cancer
As per Dr. Vikas, the best oncologist in Noida at Zeeva cancer hospital in Noida, radiation therapy can be done in various ways depending on various factors, like the type or location of the breast cancer.
External beam radiation therapy
EBRT, or External beam radiation therapy, is also the most common therapy used to treat breast cancer. EBRT can be done in the following possible ways.
- Whole Breast Radiation
In this therapy, a linear accelerator is used to send high-energy beams to the whole affected breast. This treatment is commonly done five days a week for six to seven weeks. A variant of this therapy is hypofractionated radiation therapy, in which high doses of radiation beams are used for fewer sessions.
- Accelerated partial breast irradiation
Some doctors use accelerated partial breast irradiation in some women to prevent the comeback of cancer, whose chances are comparatively higher in whole breast radiation. Accelerated partial breast irradiation involves the use of larger doses for lesser periods.
- Intraoperative radiation therapy
Just after the breast cancer surgery, before closing the breast incision, a single large dose of the beam is radiated on the area from where the tumor was removed. This type is known as Intraoperative radiation therapy.
- 3D-conformal radiotherapy
This therapy involves using 3D images of the tumor for a more precise treatment where radiation beams can focus more on the tumor. This can reduce damage to the rest of the breast unaffected by cancer.
- Intensity-modulated radiotherapy or IMRT
This therapy used varying intensities of the radiation beam and used higher intensities for the tumor cells and lower intensities for the other healthy cells. This can minimize the damage to the healthy parts of the breast.
Brachytherapy is also known as internal radiation and involves the implantation of radioactive material for a short duration inside the breast tissue near the region where the cancer tumor is present.
Possible side effects of radiation therapy for breast cancer
Some side effects can affect a person who goes for radiation therapy. Some of these side effects are as follows.
- Feeling of fatigue
- Tenderness in breasts
- Change in breast size
- Increased sensitivity of breasts
- Breast or arm lymphedema
- Changes in skin
- Inflammation in lungs
- Shoulders or arms nerve damage
- Risk of radiation heart disease
The Bottom Line
Radiation therapy is the treatment that involves the use of radioactive or high-powered beams to treat breast cancer. Radiotherapy involves using machines and properly planned sessions to conduct a successful treatment without complications. This treatment is not suitable for women who are pregnant or for patients who are over the age of 65 and who have small cancer tumors.
This is why choosing an excellent doctor, and a hospital with good facilities is even more important. Dr. Vikas at Zeeva Cancer hospital in Noida is the best oncologist in Noida. Visit the best oncologist in Noida at Zeeva cancer hospital in Noida, Dr. Vikas, for a successful treatment and quick recovery.