Perhaps you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, or know someone who has. Unfortunately, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women today. The good news ― treatment options continue to improve! At RGU Radiation Center, we also provide cancer treatment for breast cancer and other non-urological cancers. And one way we’re helping women battle breast cancer is through radiation therapy.
What is radiation therapy?
Applied after surgery, radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to carefully target and kill cancer cells. It’s proven to be a highly effective way to minimize the chance of recurrence and can be used to treat breast cancer at nearly every stage.
Depending on the stage of cancer and the individual needs of the patient, radiation therapy (sometimes called radiotherapy) is most commonly applied externally, but may be applied internally through a radiation-delivery device.
Are there side effects?
Like many medical treatments, there are side effects that can vary by individual. These can range from fatigue and skin irritation to breast or arm swelling. In rare cases, some people have experienced chest tenderness or rib fracture, or heart or lung damage. It’s important to talk with your doctor about the possible side effects and weigh the overall risk with the benefits of radiation therapy.
How do I know if I need radiation therapy?
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, work with your doctor to lay out a treatment plan. Your doctor will make the best recommendation based on the stage of your cancer, your personal health and history, and which treatments will give you the greatest chance at fighting the cancer and getting back to full health.
The best way to fight breast cancer: be proactive
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, a good time to bring attention to the best way to fight breast cancer: early detection. When detected early at a localized stage, patients have a greater chance of reaching full recovery. This is why it’s so important for women to do monthly breast self-exams and schedule regular mammograms and clinical breast exams with your doctor. Don’t put it off!
It’s also important to pay close attention to possible signs and symptoms of breast cancer, such as:
- A change in how the breast or nipple feels, including changes in skin texture or a lump in the breast
- An unexplained change in the appearance or size of the breast or nipple, such as swelling or shrinkage, dimpling in the breast, or skin that becomes red, scaly, or swollen
- Any nipple discharge (outside of breastfeeding), whether clear, bloody, or milky
If it’s time for your annual breast clinical exam, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor today. If you are considering your treatment options, call our Radiation Center at (915) 581-6702 to schedule an appointment with our Radiation Oncologist to discuss radiation therapy. Our doctors are here to help.
Click here to see the other cancer treatment areas available at the RGU Radiation Center.