Advanced Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Radiation technology is proven effective.

Nearly half of women diagnosed with breast cancer receive radiation treatment to destroy cancer cells. At MRO, we use a machine called a linear accelerator (LINAC) to direct precise doses of radiation at cancer cells, which are more susceptible to radiation than healthy cells. Like an x-ray, radiation therapy is painless. There’s no fear of becoming radioactive during or after treatment.

“When patients come in for treatment, they want to know what’s going on, they have the fear of the unknown. We guide patients step-by-step through their treatment, asking if they have any questions, and assuring them they are not alone.”
Emily Monson, Radiation Therapist
MRO | Fairview Ridges

Generally, there are three types of cases where radiation therapy is recommended.

  1. After a lumpectomy. If you have a lumpectomy, the tumor and a small amount of surrounding breast tissue are removed. But there is a risk of residual cancer cells in the tissue that remains. After surgery, radiation therapy can lower the risk of cancer recurrence.
  2. After mastectomy. A mastectomy may be necessary in cases where cancer is present in several areas of the breast, if tumors are large, or in case of specific genetic mutations. Several factors may indicate an increased risk of cancer recurrence and necessitate post-operative radiation: a tumor larger than 2 inches (5 centimeters), lymph nodes testing positive for cancer – which may indicate the cancer has spread – or the margins on breast tissue which was removed showing signs of cancer.
  3. For managing metastatic breast cancer. If breast cancer has spread to other parts of your body (metastasized) causing pain or other symptoms, MRO uses radiation treatment to shrink the tumor and ease that symptom.

“Cancer treatment is a fight. There are choices that patients have in fighting breast cancer, and radiation has proven to be an excellent choice in targeting breast cancer tumors with precision and accuracy.”
Nathan Hilton, MD
MRO | Brainerd

Treating left breast cancer requires special care

Radiation treatments on the left side of the chest can lead to heart issues years after radiation
therapy. To protect your heart from related issues or after-effects, your MRO team uses a linear
accelerator equipped with AlignRT®, a three-dimensional video-based technology, to ensure
precise targeting of cancer cells and minimize the radiation dose to the heart.

Tumors can move slightly from day to day, or even moment to moment during a treatment, such
as when you breathe. With AlignRT, we can directly monitor the external contour of your body,
to ensure precise positioning and account for motion during breathing.

Your own treatment schedule will be specifically tailored to you.

Treatment will depend on the type of tumor you have, where it’s located, and what type of technology we’ll be using. Typically, treatments are five days a week, Monday through Friday, lasting between 5-30 minutes. MRO has 11 locations across the Twin Cities, Brainerd, and Western Wisconsin, so it’s easy to find treatment near you. You’ll also meet with your physician each week to monitor progress and touch base with your nurse, who can answer any questions you may have.

“I needed to feel confident I had the ‘A-Team’ fighting for me. I did lots of research, asking questions, and being more determined than my cancer. My care team at Minneapolis Radiation Oncology – Susan, Dani, Emily – the entire team was great.”
Jody | Breast cancer survivor

At least half of all people with cancer are treated with radiation, and the cure rate is growing every day. In 2016, more than three million cancer survivors were treated with radiation; those with breast cancer made up the largest group at 40%.