Types of radiation therapy used in breast cancer

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer affecting women, and radiotherapy is one of the main treatments for it. The radiotherapy treatment helps to reduce the risk of local recurrence of the disease, after a surgery and/or chemotherapy (if selected.)
It is systematically used in case of conservative surgery (partial mastectomy) and frequent after total mastectomy, we call it a prophylactic treatment which is delivered in adjuvant situation.

When the treatment is delivered under the supervision of your doctor, the risk of toxicity effects is very low. The main form of side effects is aesthetic sequelae like modification in the flexibility and colour of the breast skin. Other toxicities are less frequent, they could be cardiac (risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure) and pulmonary (fibrosis risk limiting respiratory capacity).

The benefits of Radiotherapy treatment

Innovative & ultra-high accuracy techniques such as:

  • intensity modulation
  • dynamic arc therapy
  •  respiratory blockage & control

 allows to :

  • Precisely target the tumor, limiting the doses of radiation affecting at-risk organs in immediate vicinity (especially to the lungs and heart)
  • Reduce toxicity
  • Improve coverage of the target. 

They progressively substitute conventional “conformational” treatments. 
Such techniques allow to reduce the toxicities.

For several years now, some teams have been using hypo-fractionated treatment which allows to increase the dose per session and reduce the overall of the treatment time to 3-4 weeks, making it between 15 to 20 sessions.
New scientific data has recently published in the Lancet (Lancet 2020; 395 1613-26), allowing to use the ultra-fractionated protocols and reduce the treatment duration to 5 sessions (in one week of treatment), with results which seems comparable to usual irradiation procedures, both in terms of efficacy and late toxicity (sequela in healthy tissue).
The use of these treatment techniques, available in daily practice in My Medical Suitcase Radiotherapy partner centers, require very well-trained teams, expertise, and is subject to regular quality control assessments by the highest French Sanitary Governmental Authority.

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