A new study published online in Cancer (a peer-reviewed journal of The American Cancer Society) found that many women who have radiation therapy to treat breast cancer fear the potential problems that could occur, but that their actual experiences are better than they expected.
Radiation therapy has improved in the past two decades: radiation levels are lower and delivery is more precise. That’s important, because earlier radiation therapy was effective against breast cancer cells, but it could also damage a patient's lungs and/or heart.
But many women are unaware of these improvements, and just knowing that they face radiation keeps them awake at night. Wanting to better understand patients’ view about modern radiation therapy, Narek Shaverdian, MD, and colleagues at UCLA reviewed the survey responses of 327 breast cancer patients who were treated with radiation between 2012 and 2016:68% said they initially had little to no knowledge about radiation therapy
Source: Shaverdian N, Wang X, Hegde JV1, et al. "The patient's perspective on breast radiotherapy: Initial fears and expectations versus reality." Cancer. 2018 Feb 26.
Radiation effectively kills cancer cells, but it can adversely affect breast reconstruction, particularly reconstruction with breast implants. Read more here.