Radiation Therapy: What You Need to Know

Compared with chemotherapy and surgery, some breast cancer patients believe that radiation is the easiest part of cancer treatment. According to the Mayo Clinic, more than half of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy as part of their regimen. It can be used before, after, or in combination with other cancer treatment methods. Radiation typically refers to the use of external beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells. Most breast cancer patients using this type of therapy can expect to have an appointment five days a week for three to seven weeks. The appointments don’t take very long &mdash usually only about 10 to 30 minutes. Before your treatment begins, your radiologist may have to identify particular spots on your body. In that case, they’ll make temporary marks or even give you small tattoos – about the size of a pin prick – that will help technicians ensure that they are targeting exactly the right spots. Because it’s so important that your body stays perfectly still while your sessions are underway, your team will work with you to find a position that will keep you comfortable and situated appropriately for optimum results. They might make a mold for your body, or they might use cushions or restraints to hold you in place. MORE: Three tips for going back to work after breast cancer Breast cancer patients, for example, might need to lie on a table with arms stretched over their heads. If that happens, you technicians
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