Breast Cancer Radiation Oncology
The following describes radiation oncology treatments for breast cancer. For specific information regarding your health care options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
For patients with breast cancer, Hurley Medical Center oncologists may recommend radiation therapy.
In conjunction with the board-certified radiologists, interventional radiologists, radiation therapists, nurses and technicians of Hurley Medical Center’s Radiology Department, our oncologists may provide radiation therapy for patients with breast cancer.
Two forms of radiation therapy used to treat breast cancer:
1. Brachytherapy, or internal radiation therapy: involves the placement of small amounts of radioactive material inside or near a tumor. These sources of radiation are inserted into the body using small needles or tubes. Depending on the type of material used and the type of tumor involved, the radioactive material may be removed after treatment is complete or left in place permanently. In the case of permanent brachytherapy, the radioactive material is contained in small beads that are inserted into the tumor. After releasing all of their radiation directly in the tumor (and the surrounding area, if necessary) for a period of days or weeks, the beads are no longer radioactive and will not harm the patient.
2. Teletherapy, or external radiation therapy: commonly used after a lumpectomy for early-stage breast cancer. Doctors may also recommend radiation therapy after a mastectomy for larger breast cancers. With this form of therapy, a beam of radiation is directed at the tumor from outside the body. To ensure correct placement of the radiation beam, to help protect healthy tissue from the radiation beam, and to be able to repeat the treatment in the same spot each time, an ink tattoo is placed on the skin over the area where the cancer is located. External radiation therapy often requires multiple treatments, sometimes involving daily treatments five or six days per week over several weeks.
Highly advanced technology for the most effective treatment
Recently, Hurley Medical Center installed a new state-of-the-art radiation machine at nearby Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute. Now our breast cancer patients can get the best possible radiation treatment right here in Flint.
Patients are often concerned about the side effects of radiation therapies, including fatigue, a red sunburn-like rash, and possible damage to healthy tissues. Our highly-trained radiation oncologists and medical staff share these concerns, and follow strict protocols and procedures to ensure that patients receive the right amount of radiation, only where it is needed, and in a manner that minimizes the likelihood of accidental exposures.
Hurley Breast Health Nurse Navigator
From diagnosis to treatment to long-term follow-up, Hurley Medical Center’s Breast Health Nurse Navigator helps breast cancer patients navigate the complicated and stressful world of breast cancer. Click here for more information about the Breast Health Nurse Navigator program at Hurley Medical Center.