Radiation therapy for breast cancer

John Han-Chih Chang, MD and Kenneth Blank, MD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

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Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
My friend has lobular breast cancer and had six weeks of radiation treatment.

She is wanting a source for understanding what to expect from her body as a reaction to radiation.  
Thanks for your help.

Ken Blank, MD, and John Han-Chih Chang, MD, OncoLink Editorial Assistants,reply:

Dear M.R.:
Thank you for your question.

Radiation therapy side effects are usually localized tothe body site being irradiated. In general, the major side effect of radiation is inflammation. However, inflammation can manifest in different ways depending on the body site that becomes inflamed. For example, if the bladder is irradiated the patient may experience urinary frequency . On theother hand, lung irradiation can cause a dry cough in some patients.

Please consult your radiation oncologist as to what he/she feels is the risk of side effects in your case.

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