Lumps of various types and kinds are present in a woman’s breast throughout their lives. Most of these lumps are harmless and vanish when women achieve menopause. However, some women are unlucky enough to be caught in the grips of breast cancer. Lumps that are cancerous are often accompanied by dimpling and puckering of skin, pus or bloody discharge from the nipples and also inflammations of the lymph nodes.
Breast cancer lumps if detected early can offer a ray of hope to patients as there are several advanced treatment methods now available for cancer. However, the most common treatment scheme followed for breast cancer is surgical removal of the lump and radiation and chemotherapy for destroying the cancerous cells.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be administered before and after the surgery depending on the extent of the growth. When a lumpectomy is done which is a type of breast conservation surgery, most often, patients also undergo radiation treatment to prevent the cancer from occurring.
Radiation therapy is used for destroying the cancer cells that could be present after surgical removal of the tumours or to reduce the size of the tumours before the surgery is done. Radiation therapy is also used as a preventive treatment to stop recurrence of cancer which many women are susceptible to.
Radiation Therapy After Lumpectomy
Lumpectomy is a process by which the lump and some of the surrounding tissues are removed from the breast, preserving the shape of the breast. Lumpectomy is mostly done when the cancer is not much advanced. During the process of lumpectomy the patients are made to go through radiation treatment to avoid any chance of recurrence of tumour.
This preventive measure ensures that the cancer does not recur and spread to the lymph nodes or metastasizes to other organs. Radiation therapy is also done after mastectomy, along with chemotherapy for preventing recurrence and also to kill any cancer cells that could still be present in the site. The patient is normally made to go through 5-7 weeks of radiation therapy post lumpectomy. However, going through radiation therapy does not mean that the cancer will not recur.
Radiation therapy is done using waves or through insertion of radioactive materials inside the body. It is administered slowly in several weeks time in order to reduce the damage on healthy cells.
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Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy
Though radiation treatment does not have any immediate side effect, there could be side effects later on in life like cancer in the treated area. But the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages of radiation therapy and hence are a much favoured method of treatment whatsoever. Patients are generally without symptoms after radiation treatment, except that some people experience shooting pains in the area and others might get burns and blisters on the skin along with itching. These are however, symptoms that are temporary and can be treated with topical creams and medications.
Cancer is life threatening if diagnosed late. However, many treatment methods like radiation therapy can be used for treating and preventing recurrence of cancer is detected early.