Radiation Therapy Treatment Options for Breast Cancer

Radiation Oncology at Mercy

The patients of The Hoffberger Breast Center have access to a variety of radiation services at Mercy. Mercy’s breast surgeons work with the radiation oncologists of Radiation Oncology at Mercy to offer a full array of radiation services, providing you a treatment plan unique to your diagnosis.

What is Radiation Therapy?

Radiation therapy is used to remove cancer cells as well as reduce the growth of cancer cells. Radiation treatment is either used alone or in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy for cancer treatment. Undergoing radiation is non-invasive, painless and typically lasts less than 30 minutes.

Patients who undergo radiation must be able to sit very still during the treatment session. Depending on the type of treatment necessary, your radiation oncologist may decide to use masks and immobilization devices designed to keep you in a single position. It is vital to remain still during a treatment session as it increases the accuracy of the radiation treatment.

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What types of Radiation Therapy are available at Mercy?

Intraoperative Radiotherapy (IORT)

Intraoperative Radiotherapy (IORT) is a single dose radiation treatment available for some breast cancer patients. IORT is delivered at the time of a lumpectomy and eliminates the need to return for weekly radiation treatments (typically six additional weeks).

External Beam Radiotherapy

External Beam Radiotherapy treats all organs and parts of the body by delivering uniform doses of high x-ray energy to the tumor or cancer cells. A benefit of this treatment is that it destroys the cancer cells while sparing the surrounding tissue from radiation exposure.

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy utilizes 3D imaging in order to deliver the most accurate and precise treatment available. During an IMRT session, your radiation oncologist can adjust your treatment based on the size and shape of your tumor. IMRT allows you to receive treatment that is customizable to your individual needs.

High Dose Rate Brachytherapy

High Dose Rate Brachytherapy is typically used to treat small, early stage cancers. This type of radiation treatment is delivered through a small implant that is placed very close to the cancer site. Due to the use of a localized implant, High Dose Rate Brachytherapy spares the tissue surrounding the tumor by limiting the exposure of radiation to other parts of the body. One of the devices used is the SAVI intracavitary radiation device.

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