Breast cancer cells are destroyed by the use of radiation therapy. It lowers the risk of recurrence of breast cancer or lymph nodes cancer. Radiation therapy is also recommended for mastectomy in patients that have cancer size more than 5 cm.
If the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body then also radiation therapy helps to heal it. It can be given in two main ways:
Radiation Therapy Can be Given in 2 Main Ways
External Beam Radiation
The commonly used radiation therapy is external beam radiation. In it, the rays are focused on the affected area with the help of an instrument that is placed outside the body. The amount of rays used in this therapy totally depends upon the breast conserving surgery, involvement of lymph nodes and mastectomy.
In cases in which mastectomy is done and lymph nodes do not have cancer then the therapy focuses on the walls of the chest. When breast conserving surgery is done then therapy will be done in the entire breast and more boost is given to the area having cancer cells to prevent the chances of recurrence. When the lymph nodes have cancer under the arms then the radiation is used on this organ and some part of the treatment is given to the supraclavicular lymph nodes and internal mammary lymph nodes.
External radiation therapy is started when the cancer cells begin to heal up and it may take a month or more of the cells to heal. In cases in which chemotherapy has to be given then radiation therapy is delayed till the time chemotherapy is complete.
The brachytherapy is a type of internal radiation therapy. In this therapy, radioactive seeds or pellets are pushed into the tissues of the breast.
Mostly; this therapy is used in patients who have undergone breast conservation surgery to give boost to the radiation on the tumor. This therapy is affected by the size of the tumor, location and some other factors that limit the process of brachytherapy.
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In this type of brachytherapy, cathetors are pushed into the breast and removes the cancer cells as they are placed inside the breast for some days. Radioactive pellets have to be inserted into the catheters everyday till all the cancer cells are removed. As this is a time taking method to remove cancer cells so it is used very rarely.
The most common type of brachytherapy that is used is intracavitary therapy. Different types of instrument like MammoSite, SAVI, Axxent, and Contura are placed inside the breast by using breast conserving surgery and it is kept there till all the cancer cells are killed. These instruments go inside the breasts in the form of a tube.The end point of the device is widen when inserted into the breasts so that it can kill all the cancer cells.
Every time treatment has to be given by this some pellets are pushed inside the breasts with the help of a tube. Treatment is given twice in a day for a period of five days and after giving last treatment, the instrument collapsed and got removed.
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