Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed and main cause of cancer death in women. Its treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach with the participation of a breast surgeon, a pathologist oncologist and an oncologist-radiotherapist. Radiotherapy prevails in the treatment of breast cancer and can be now adapted to the particular needs of each patient, offering high survival and longevity rates.
New radiotherapy techniques protect the healthy tissues around the targeted tumor enhancing the therapeutic effect. The good news is that we are now detecting breast cancer at early stages and younger ages, and thus we have increased the chances of a full recovery.
Radiotherapy is applied after mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery and can be combined with chemotherapy.
According to scientific studies, post-operative radiotherapy significantly increases the patient’s survival rate while the delayed initiation of radiotherapy seems to be associated with an increased risk of local recurrence. It is characteristic that the occurrence of a second primary cancer is not increased in patients who underwent radiotherapy. However, smokers are at a high risk of developing lung cancer.
Patients with a high or moderate risk, such as patients with positive lymph nodes have a particular benefit from radiotherapy. In fact, irradiation exclusively with linear accelerators led to a significant improvement in survival, without increased cardiorespiratory side effects.
Computed tomography helps in the design of modern radiotherapy techniques. With the 3D planning of radiotherapy and with intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) we can better delimit the affected area, protecting healthy tissues from radiation and reducing side effects.
The additional radiation dose (boost) in the tumor bed, that is where it is necessary, is planned with great precision. Thus, we can minimize the exposure of the heart and lungs.
Given the fact that the new linear accelerators have an integrated computed tomography scanner (IGRT), any deviations are automatically corrected.
Adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) eliminates any microscopic remnants of the tumor that remain after breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy. It reduces the risk of local recurrence and improves the survival rate of the patient.
In most women who are treated with breast-conserving surgery, radiotherapy covers the entire breast (WBRT). Usually, an additional radiation dose is administered in the tumor bed to further reduce the risk of intra-breast tumor recurrence (IBTR).
Radiotherapy after breast-conserving surgery reduces the possibility of local recurrence, while reducing the risk of any first recurrence by 50%. In left breast cancer we control the movement of the internal organs and particularly of breathing, with specially designed systems and we apply radiotherapy in the deep inhalation phase so that the irradiated chest has the greatest possible distance from the heart.
Radiotherapy in the entire breast is completed in five weeks. However, for patients living in areas located far from treatment centers we apply a shorter program that provides more radiation per dose and its duration is about three weeks. I would like to point out here that the different radiotherapy protocols have equivalent aesthetic and therapeutic results. It is important that all women have equal access to their treatment and do not resort to mastectomy. It is now scientifically proven that lumpectomy in combination with adjunctive radiotherapy has better long-term results than mastectomy.
During radiotherapy, if a slight or moderate redness of the skin occurs, it subsides after five to ten days while the appearance and the palpation of the radiation-treated breast one year after radiotherapy is usually no different from a healthy breast. However, very small or very heavy breasts require special care. Radiotherapy after mastectomy leaves the tissues in an elastic state and patients can undergo breast reconstruction. The final result depends, of course, on the type and quality of the surgery as well as on the eventual chemotherapy to which the patient will be subjected.
Therefore the patient must seek treatment by a specialized medical scientific staff who will also offer her comprehensive support.
We constantly monitor and take care of our patients not only during radiotherapy but also after its completion. We have modern equipment, know-how and we provide safe treatments with low side effects.
I am fortunate to operate state-of-the-art equipment, that offers my patients the best results with the lowest possible side effects.
Cancer is no longer an incurable disease. Since the 1970s, the patients who recovered from cancer have increased sixfold globally.
Radiotherapy is the most personalized treatment because it is designed and carried out according to the needs of each patient.
We are here to offer treatment and care, individually for each patient.