How effective is radiation therapy for treating breast cancer?

Fairly effective. Radiation plays an important role in treating breast cancer. In the neoadjuvant setting it can reduce the size of a relatively large lesion making surgery more effective. It can be used to treat micro disease in axilla and after lumpectomy can be used to enhance survival and reduce local recurrence. In metastatic bone disease it can control in not eliminate disease.

Related Questions

How effective has intraoperative radiation therapy been for u.S. Breast-cancer patients so far?

Early results good. Published results of intraoperative radiation therapy, iort, (targit-a trial) have found no difference as compared to traditional whole-breast radiation therapy in a subset of people at low risk for recurrence. While promising, we await long-term data before expanding this option to more people. To-date, my experience has been very favorable. Read more...
Effective. According to some studies, the results are as effective as traditional radiation. Read more...
Promising. The initial reports are promising. I think i will wait for more long term data to be available before i offer this to my patients. Read more...

Are there new advances in radiation therapy for treating breast cancer?

Yes. The most common method of treatment is external beam RT, which is typically given over 7 weeks. Accelerated partial breast irradiation (brachytherapy) is an option for some breast cancers and can be completed in 5 days. Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) is popular in Europe and is becoming more available in the US for selected patients; treatment may be completed at the time of surgery. Read more...
Yes. Among the many advances in radiation treatment for breast cancer is what is called the canadian protocol, which is a shorter course of treatment after lumpectomy but with the same outcomes. Read more...
The radiotherapy 4. Breast cancer news is mostly about shorter courses of treatment (partial breast or whole breast), and this addresses a problem of long treatment that may be a barrier for some and unacceptable for others, but the standard therapy works well! the big issues are: triple negative; can treatment be aovided (oncotype for dcis). Read more...

Can breast cancer recur after radiation therapy?

Yes. After a lumpectomy and whole breast radiation, there is a 12-15% chance that breast cancer will come back in the same breast within 5 years. However, the chance of recurrence is much higher without radiation therapy. Read more...
Yes. However, chance of recurrence is much reduced because of radiation. This is the reason that radiation is the standard of care after breast conservation surgery. Chance of local recurrence is reduced by about 2/3. Read more...
Yes. No matter what treatment, cancer of the breast does not have 100 % results. So with lumpectomy and radiation cancer can still recurr. This is why patients need to follow with all their doctors for exams and x-rays. If there is a recurrence other options exist such as mastectomy. Read more...

Do I need radiation therapy if I have early stage breast cancer with clear margins?

Probably. Discuss at length with your doc. If you are really 32, you have a much higher risk of recurrence in the breast than a much older woman (assuming that you had lumpectomy). Radiation or mastectomy is definitely indicated. Lumpectomy alone may be ok in very selected post-menopausal tumors that are estrogen receptor positive, good margins, small, and with specific pathologic features. Read more...
Depends on surgery. The answer to this depends mainly on the type of surgery you have had. If you had a mastectomy, you would not require radiation. If you had a lumpectomy, you probably would benefit from radiation. Read more...
Maybe. The stage is important, but so are other things. Namely, the type of carcinoma (ductal vs lobular), invasive disease vs in situ (or both), differentiation status, receptor expression, etc. If low grade, neg margins & neg nodes, skipping radiation is likely an option. If your oncologist insists, ask why, and get yourself a second opinion (including pathology review) for assurance. Read more...
Yes! There is nothing that makes a surgeon more uncomfortable after a lumpectomy than hearing the question: "did you get it all?" cancer is very humbling and it's growth is not completely predictable. While our margins may be "clear", we know many women will return with cancer at this lumpectomy site within 2-3 years unless radiation therapy is given. With rare exception, radiation rx is necessary. Read more...