T he news on radiation is that new options for types of radiation therapy are on the horizon. A prescribed course of radiation to the affected area accompanies many types of breast cancer diagnosis. Having chosen mastectomy over lumpectomy and radiation, I did not require this course of treatment.
“So,” you are thinking, “what is she doing writing about radiation when she knows nothing about it?” I did my fair share of research about radiation before making my decision to have a mastectomy, but that was some time ago and I don’t feel qualified to comment on what is available now. I do know from talking to my peers at my mastectomy support group that radiation can make you tired, can make your skin turn red/sunburn, damage cells and potentially complicate breast construction plans and timing.
Information from breastcancer.org about radiation therapy:
“Radiation therapy — also called radiotherapy — is a highly targeted, highly effective way to destroy cancer cells in the breast that may stick around after surgery. Radiation can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence by about 70%. Despite what many people fear, radiation therapy is relatively easy to tolerate and its side effects are limited to the treated area.
Your radiation treatments will be overseen by a radiation oncologist, a cancer doctor who specializes in radiation therapy.
In this section you can learn more about radiation therapy, including:
- How Radiation Works
- When is Radiation Appropriate?
- Types of Radiation
- Managing Skin Side Effects
- Managing Other Side Effects of Radiation
- Radiation for Metastatic Breast Cancer
- Ten Key Points About Radiation Therapy
- Staying on Track with Radiation Therapy
Until I am able to interview a medical professional and provide appropriate information about radiation, here are a few links to help you out: