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Different Types of Radiation to Treat Breast Cancer

Second To Nature Wants You to Know All Radiation Treatment Options

Did you know there are different types of radiation to treat breast cancer? That’s our blog topic this month. After getting a breast cancer diagnosis, you’ll likely go over your treatment choices with a doctor. Sometimes breast cancer needs aggressive treatments, like lumpectomy or mastectomy surgeries. For those women who undergo mastectomy surgery, Second To Nature is here to provide customized prosthetics. Many times, breast cancer treatment also includes targeted cancer-cell eradication like chemotherapy and radiation.

Learn How Radiation Treatment to Eradicate Breast Cancer Works

The two types of radiation treatment are external beam radiation and internal radiation. According to www.cancer.gov, radiation treatment damages cancer cells’ DNA, thus killing the cells’ or slowing their growth. When radiation damages cancer cells’ DNA, they stop dividing or they die. Upon the damaged cells’ death, they break down and the body removes them.

The Most Common Breast Cancer Treatment is External Beam Radiation

External beam radiation is a painless treatment option and the most common type of radiation to combat breast cancer. With this radiation treatment, a large machine directly aims beams of radiation at the breast cancer tumor site. While the machine moves, it can direct radiation to the tumor from different trajectories.

Understand What to Expect with External Beam Radiation

Prior to treatment, the radiation oncologist and radiation therapist might both take scans of the area needing external beam radiation. This is so they know at which area to aim the radiation beams. One of them will likely mark the area with tattoos or ink, which remain throughout the course of radiation treatment. The radiation therapists use the marks to line up the patient’s body. Consequently, this ensures the external beam radiation targets the precise area that needs treatment.

Learn How Internal Radiation Treats Cancer

Internal radiation, also known as brachytherapy, temporarily puts radiation into the tissue in which breast cancer is located. Internal radiation treatment works most effectively in early breast cancer stages and if the breast cancer’s just in one spot. It also works well if a patient has breast-conserving surgery.

Know What Patients Can Expect with Internal Radiation

With internal radiation, a device sends radioactive seeds or pellets into the body through small tubes or catheters. A device inflates at the end of the catheter, so that it stays in place through the entire treatment. The internal radiation treatment usually keeps the radioactive substance inside for approximately 10 to 20 minutes or longer. This usually occurs as outpatient procedures twice a day for five consecutive days. After the final course of treatment concludes, the radiation therapist removes the catheter, inflatable device, and radioactive substances.


Call Second To Nature at (540) 366-2711 for information about our services. We specialize in custom breast prosthesis and mastectomy education. Follow us on Facebook for updates. We’d also be happy to explain more about the different types of radiation to treat breast cancer.