Breast Cancer/Breast Radiation Therapy

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Breast Cancer/Breast Radiation Therapy

After surgery for breast cancer, there remains a risk of a recurrence of the cancer in the breast over subsequent years, even when the surgeon has completely removed the cancer that can be seen. Giving a course of radiotherapy after surgery reduces this risk.

Without radiotherapy, trials have shown a risk of recurrence in up to 40% of women by 12 years after surgery. If radiotherapy is given, this is reduced to approximately 2-3% of women.

What does the procedure involve?

You will be positioned on the breast board, as done for a CT scan machine. The treatment machines have a camera system attached which uses infra-red lights to help get you into the correct position and will also detect movement during the radiotherapy. You will need to remove your clothing from the waist up in order to use the camera system. 

The machine will then move to the first treatment position. A monitor will be attached to your skin to check your treatment. The radiographers then take a scan of treatment area and then deliver the treatment. 

It is very important you remain still. You will not feel anything during the treatment, but you will hear a buzzing noise as the treatment is delivered. 

Each treatment position takes between one and two minutes to treat, but the total time of your first treatment will be up to 20 minutes. Subsequent treatments should take between 10 and 20 minutes.