March 5, 2008

What Are The Types of Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer?

Posted in Category : Women's Health

Women suffering from breast commonly prefer to opt for radiation therapy. Radiation therapy for breast cancer kills breast cancer cells that are still remaining in the breast after surgery. This therapy uses very high energy rays for disrupting cancer cells from dividing and growing.

Radiation therapy for breast cancer done before surgery shrinks the size of the tumor. Radiation therapy is generally given after the surgical procedure. This gives the breast tissue sufficient time to heal. If cancer cells are still remaining after surgery then radiation therapy may be recommended

Types of Radiation therapy:

External Beam Therapy is a commonly used radiation therapy for breast cancer. Radiation is given from a source that is outside your body to the area that is infected by cancer cells. Experience of diagnostic x ray and external beam radiation is similar except that radiation is given for a longer duration and at a much higher dose.

Internal Radiation: Here radioactive substances are directly placed inside the breast tissue near to affected tissue. This is a surgical procedure that involves implantation of tiny tubes inside the breast tissue near to the tumor. One major advantage of this technique is that after surgery there is less irritation of breast tissues. The treatment is painless. After surgery there are fewer skin reactions. You will rarely see rashes or redness on the skin. Irritations if any are mild.

Side Effects:

As radiation therapy also affects the healthy white and red cells, it may give rise to fatigue and Neutropenia. Neutropia is nothing but decrease in the percentage of white blood cells. Other side effects breast tenderness or swelling. After radiation you feel as if the breast is heavy. The breast skin has sunburn like appearance. Loss is appetite is another side effect of radiation therapy. Although radiation therapy has side effects they are temporary