Breast Cancer Expert Forum
Less Agressive Radiation?
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Questions posted in the Breast Cancer Forum are answered by medical professionals and experts. Topics include Breast Biopsy, Chemotherapy, Hormone Therapy, Lumps, Lumpectomy, Lymph node dissection, Lymphedema, Mammograms, Mastectomy, Radiation Therapy, Reconstruction, Self Breast Exam, and Surgery.

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Less Agressive Radiation?

I had a lumpectomy and am more than halfway through chemo.  Since the chemo is going through every cell of my body, I question how necessary radiation is. My oncologist recommends radiation to just the tumor site.  I am not a candidate for MammoSite.  

I have met with two radiation oncologists. The only treatment they would offer is full "standard" treatment.  I do not want part of my heart and lung radiated.

Is there any other radiation procedure available besides MammoSite or "Standard"?  Are some radiation oncologists willing to reduce the radiation field to eliminate the heart and lung?
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Dear Her2nue:  The current standard of care is to radiate the entire breast.  A risk of doing this is that a small part of the heart or lung COULD be within the field of radiation therapy and be exposed.  Radiation oncologists take measures to minimize this type of exposure.  In general, most women suffer no ill effects from this type of radiation therapy.
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Avatar_n_tn
treatments are based on the best current data: sometime in the future, it may be possible to tell who needs exactly what. At this time, what we know is that more women will be cured if they receive full treatment than if they don't. Within that group undoubtedly are some who would be cured with less, and some who won't be cured no matter what is done. At this time, we have no way of knowing. So, for groups of women it's clear that to do less is dangerous. Others on this forum have raised the heart/lung radiation issue. It's something that has to be mentioned for the lawyers: it's virtually never a problem with modern techniques. You should go with what we know best in 2003, or be willing to risk treatment failure as a possibility.
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