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Radiotherapy

If you have breast conserving surgery you will almost certainly be recommended radiotherapy. Occasionally, people who have a mastectomy may also be recommended radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy is localised treatment with x-rays to destroy any cancer cells that may be left in the breast, chest wall or axilla after surgery. Usually, this entails treatment once a day, five days a week for three to six weeks. Each treatment only takes a few minutes.

Before commencing radiotherapy, you will be referred to a specialist radiation oncologist. These doctors are experts in planning and delivering an individualised treatment plan, explaining what is involved and the potential side effects. It is important to note that radiotherapy will not make you ‘radioactive’.

If you are having chemotherapy, your radiotherapy will commence after the chemotherapy is finished. Otherwise, it will usually start a few weeks after your surgery.

Dr Lancashire will explain whether or not you will require radiotherapy, and if so, broad strokes about what it will entail. A radiation oncologist will go through this in detail with you should Dr Lancashire recommend it.