Breast Cancer: Radiation Treatment
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 230,000 American women receive a breast cancer diagnosis each year. Though much less common, breast cancer also affects men.
Learn more about breast cancer treatment at Washington Cancer Institute.
Radiation treatment for breast cancer in Washington, D.C.
Breast cancer treatments generally involve some combination of radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted therapy. Often, radiation destroys any possible cancer cells left behind after surgery.
At the Cancer Institute, we bring together a team of experts from a variety of specialties to evaluate your particular case, and determine the best treatment plan for you and your family. We tailor every approach we use to your specific needs. We target the radiation to spare as much healthy tissue as possible.
We are skilled in using multiple radiation techniques and technologies for breast cancer, including:
3D Conformal Radiotherapy
3D Conformal Radiotherapy is a radiation therapy technique that sculpts radiation beams to the shape of a tumor. This is ideal for tumors that have irregular shapes or that lay close to healthy tissues and organs. We view a tumor in three dimensions with the help of advanced imaging. Based on the dosimetry plan, or the treatment plan, we then deliver radiation beams from several directions to the tumor.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
During IMRT, radiation beamlets (tiny beams) conform to the shape of the breast and area of risk with the aid of an advanced treatment planning program. This technique allows for different areas to receive different highly-sculpted doses of radiation, depending on the location of the tumor and areas at risk for microscopic disease. IMRT helps protect healthy tissue and critical nearby organs such as the lungs and heart from unnecessary radiation exposure. It also reduces damage to skin around the breast.
Learn more about external beam radiation.
Advanced external beam radiation technology: Trilogy ™ linear accelerator
The Cancer Institute was one of the first cancer centers to have a Trilogy, one of the most advanced radiation machines for delivering external beam radiation in the world. Trilogy targets tumors with extreme precision, delivers a very high dose of radiation and requires fewer treatment sessions than other forms of external beam radiation, when possible.
Learn more about Trilogy.
Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI)
At the Cancer Institute, we use an advanced method of internal radiation called Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) for selected breast cancer patients. Doctors use APBI treatment after a lumpectomy. A lumpectomy is surgery to remove a tumor in the breast. APBI delivers radiation to the area where the tumor was removed. APBI eliminates the need for whole breast radiation.
APBI can be delivered using brachytherapy or external beam radiation therapy. Treatment time is generally twice a day for five days.
Brachytherapy for Partial Breast Irradiation (PBI)
The unique, balloon shape of the device allows our doctors to tailor the radiation doses delivered to a targeted, and sometimes very small, area of the breast.
External beam radiation therapy for Partial Breast Irradiation (PBI)
External beam radiation uses a linear accelerator to aim high-energy radiation beams at the tumor from outside your body. Our specialists treat as small an area of your breast as possible to avoid causing unnecessary damage to your healthy tissue.
External beam radiation is not painful, and each session does not take very long to complete. You do not need to stay in the hospital for the treatments.
For more information or appointments, please call 202-877-DOCS (3627).
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