Radiation Oncology

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:

  • Intraoperative Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (Intra Beam)

    Intraoperative Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (Intra Beam) is a complete system to deliver Intra-operative, or post-operative radiation therapy directly into tumors or tumor cavities. Sentara is participating in a national clinical trial.

  • 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.

  • Brachytherapy/Radioactive Seed Implant Therapy

    Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy where a radioactive source is placed inside or next to the area requiring treatment. MammoSite® is a type of brachytherapy.

  • Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation

    APBI is a form of brachytherapy (internal breast radiation). Traditional radiation therapy is given from a machine that focuses the external ray onto the breast as a woman lies on a table. Treatment usually takes 4-6 weeks. 

    In breast brachytherapy, radioactive substances are placed directly into the breast where the cancer was removed. APBI delivers the entire course of radiation treatment in 5-7 days. This method of radiation therapy helps reduce the time and travel required. It also radiates the area most likely to have recurrence and reduces the side effects of radiation to the whole breast by sparing normal tissues. APBI is a treatment option for women whose breast size and tumor size are within certain limits.
    Partial breast radiation criteria:

    • 50 years of age or older
    • Small tumors, three centimeters or less confined to the breast
    • Tumor with clear margins
    • Negative lymph nodes

    Accelerated partial breast irradiation is performed 1-4 weeks after a lumpectomy. A specialized catheter is inserted into the cavity left behind after removal of the tumor. This device remains in place during the course of APBI treatment.