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Your doctor may recommend radiation therapy as part of your breast cancer treatment plan. Radiation therapy can reduce the risk of your breast cancer returning by about 70 percent. We often use radiation therapy alongside breast cancer surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells in the chest and armpit areas. We also can combine it with other treatments, such as chemotherapy.
About two-thirds of patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer will need radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is required to destroy any microscopic breast cancer cells in the:
Radiation therapy allows us to shrink and kill breast cancer cells without harming nearby tissue or organs. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer in an early stage, radiation therapy can eliminate the need for you to have a mastectomy.
Other benefits of radiation therapy as part of your breast cancer treatment plan include:
In most cases, you can receive your radiation treatments in a period of three and a half to four weeks — a much shorter timeline than in years past. Some patients may be able to get their treatments in as little as one week. This means less inconvenience and less time away from work, family and other responsibilities.
We will tailor your radiation treatment plan to your specific breast cancer. Our radiation oncologists offer the latest breast cancer treatment therapies, including:
If your cancer is located in the left breast, you may be a candidate for MRI-guided radiation therapy. We were the first in the world to offer this therapy to patients. This is a form of IMRT that uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to deliver precise radiation treatments. MRI-guided radiation therapy lets us ensure that we avoid nearby critical areas, such as the heart, while still delivering effective radiation doses to your tumor.
We also offer a radiation therapy technique called active breathing control (ABC) for patients with cancer in the left breast. During this treatment, you will hold your breath several times while you receive targeted doses of radiation. This helps move your heart away from the treatment area, protecting it from radiation exposure. The beam of radiation you receive for your breast cancer will only be active when your heart has moved away from the treatment area.
Our radiation oncologists use advanced equipment to deliver radiation therapy in one of three ways: