Breast Cancer Radiation Therapy Guide

230,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. in 2015. With modern treatment, over 80% of them will be free of cancer 10 years after their diagnosis; most will live long, happy lives.

You probably have several cancer doctors; they work together as a team to give you the best treatment. Your medical oncologist prescribes chemotherapy drugs (medicine that attacks cancer cells). You may have seen a surgeon, who typically performs a lumpectomy (taking a small amount of tissue out of your breast) or a mastectomy (removing most of the tissue from your breast). Your radiation oncologist will use high-tech machines to direct energy (in the form of radiation) to destroy cancer cells. Even if you’ve had surgery or chemotherapy, radiation therapy will reduce the chance that your cancer will come back in the treated area.

This breast cancer radiation therapy guide includes basic information about your treatment and a list of resources that you can rely on.

The most important tip is to communicate with your doctor and follow your doctor’s instructions.

Make sure you:

  • Go to every appointment on time,
  • Follow your doctor’s diet and skin care recommendations,
  • Contact your doctor immediately if you have any serious problems or side effects, and
  • Tell your doctor if you change your habits, medications, or are worried that something is wrong.