Radiation therapy to the breast can cause some side effects. Some begin during treatment. Others may occur months or even years later.
Protecting the heart from exposure to radiation therapy is one of the goals in the treatment of left-sided breast cancer, and respiratory gating or breath hold has been found to help. Radiation therapy can improve the survival rate for some people, but can increase the risk of several types of heart disease down the road. It may also be cumulative with damage caused by other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy especially Adriamycin and targeted therapies such as Herceptin.
The primary goal of breast cancer management is to achieve optimal oncologic outcomes, and a very close secondary goal is to preserve cosmesis when possible. Two main treatment paradigms to achieve this cosmetic goal include breast conservation therapy BCT as well as mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery. BCT for invasive disease typically includes a local surgery i.
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Radiotherapy is sometimes referred to as radiation therapy. Not all women with breast cancer will be recommended to have radiotherapy. It is usually recommended, however, for women who have breast-conserving surgery also called lumpectomy.
When radiation treatment is needed for cancer of the left breast, the nearby location of the heart means it requires extra protection. Cancer radiation specialists at Saint Barnabas Medical Center SBMC employ a variety of techniques, technology and treatment plans to help patients avoid radiation damage to this vital organ. We understand that and have long taken steps to reduce that risk.
Some women with breast cancer will need radiation, often in addition to other treatments. The need for radiation depends on what type of surgery you had, whether your cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or somewhere else in your body, and in some cases, your age. Tumors that are large or involve the skin might also need radiation.
Better treatments for breast cancer have contributed to the growing number of breast cancer survivors, now about three million in the United States. However, these women may face a heightened risk of heart disease from the cardiotoxic effects of chemotherapy and radiation, according to a statement from the American Heart Association in the Feb. Doctors have long known that certain cancer drugs can decrease the heart's pumping ability, especially doxorubicin Adriamycin and trastuzumab Herceptintwo common treatments for breast cancer. Many women receive radiation therapy as well, which can cause heart tissue to scar or stiffen, possibly leading to valve disorders, coronary artery disease, or other heart problems.
This study aimed to identify risk factors that have significant interaction with radiation exposure to the heart, and thus to determine candidates for heart-sparing radiotherapy RT among women with left breast cancer. We identified 4, patients who received adjuvant RT following breast-conserving surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ or invasive breast cancer from to Incidence rates of cardiovascular disease were compared between left-sided and right-sided RT, and stratified by age and risk factors such as body mass index BMIsmoking, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, administration of anthracycline, and trastuzumab.
For women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy has been shown to be as effective as mastectomy without radiation for removing the cancer AND minimizing the risk of the cancer coming back recurrence. Radiation therapy after lumpectomy can destroy any cancer cells that may have been left behind after surgery, making recurrence less likely. Still, studies have found a link between radiation therapy for breast cancer and a higher risk of heart and lung problems, especially if the cancer is in the left breast, the same side as the heart. Radiation therapy uses a special kind of high-energy beam to damage cancer cells.