Radiation therapy is used to treat cancer as well as offer relief from some of the symptoms of cancer. It may be used alone or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy.
Read more about various radiation oncology treatments below, or visit our main radiation oncology page for more information.
Advanced radiation therapies for breast cancer include:
External Beam Radiation Therapy or IORT for Breast Cancer
This is a method for delivering a beam of high-energy X-rays to the location of the patient's tumor. These X-rays can destroy the cancer cells and careful treatment planning allows the surrounding normal tissues to be spared.
Short course external beam radiation therapy is also available for patients that are deemed candidates. Short course treatment can be administered in 16 treatments vs the standard treatment regimen of 33 treatments.
Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy where a radioactive source is placed inside or next to the area requiring treatment. Contura is a type of brachytherapy used, given twice per day for five treatments for patients that meet specific criteria.
Sentara Martha Jefferson is highly experienced in the area of respiratory gating and it is available for treatment of breast cancer. Respiratory gating can be especially beneficial for left-sided breast cancer since the heart is also located on the left side of the chest. A 4D CT registers and sorts the target motion through the respiratory cycle. By computerized synchronization of the accelerator treatment delivery with the breathing cycle, the radiation delivery can be gated (turned on and off) during specific phases of the respiratory cycle for patients with left-sided breast cancers the heart typically moves away from the breast with inspiration. By gating the breast treatment to coincide with inspiration, the heart may be more optimally spared from the radiation. During the planning process, we educate the patient in the breathing technique, providing audible cues and coaching as needed.