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Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

Multidisciplinary Care

Radiation oncologists at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center work together with doctors who specialize in different medical areas to provide treatment that is individualized and well-coordinated.

Learn more about comprehensive breast care services provided by UW Health.

Radiation therapy is an important component of treatment for breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Radiation treatments are usually given after breast conserving surgery or mastectomy. UW Health radiation oncologists will discuss your condition and make recommendations for your care.

 

Learn about radiation oncology at the UW Carbone Cancer.

 

Radiation Treatment Options

 

External Beam Radiation Therapy

 

Beams from special X-ray machines, called linear accelerators, are aimed at the breast from outside the body. During your treatment, a beam of radiation (high-energy x-rays or electrons) is directed through the skin to destroy cancerous cells. This form of radiation therapy may be recommended after either breast conserving surgery or mastectomy.

 

Treatment is typically given on a daily basis, from Monday through Friday, over a period of approximately 6 weeks. Certain women who have undergone breast conserving surgery may be able to have treatment delivered over approximately 3 weeks.

 

Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation

 

This form of radiation therapy, also known as breast brachytherapy, is an option for certain women who have undergone breast conserving surgery for early stage breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Breast brachytherapy is a more localized means of treatment than external beam radiation therapy. Therefore, healthy breast, skin, rib, muscle, lung and heart tissue is exposed to lower doses of radiation. Treatment involves placing one or more catheters into the breast.  Internal radiation treatments are delivered twice daily for 5 days.

 

More information regarding radiation therapy for breast cancer is available online through the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology (ASTRO).

 

Radiation Oncology Doctors

 

Bethany M. Anderson, MD

Kristin A. Bradley, MD

Steven P. Howard, MD, PhD