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    Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

    What to Expect With Brachytherapy

    Radioactive seeds or pellets as small as grains of rice are placed inside the breast, near the cancer. Whether this treatment might be right for you will depend on your tumor’s size, location, and other things. 

    The side effects include redness, bruising, breast pain, infection, weakness, and an increased risk of fractured ribs. 

    Brachytherapy can be used alone or with external beam radiation.

    How Should I Eat During a Course of Radiation?

    Good nutrition is important to help you recover from side effects. Eating well gives you energy and helps your body heal and fight off infection. It can also give you a sense of well-being.

    Since eating when you don't feel good can be hard, a dietitian can help you find ways to get the nutrients you need during treatment.

    Will Radiation Make Me Tired?

    Everyone has a different level of energy, so radiation affects each person differently. Many people feel fatigued after several weeks of treatment. Most often, this is mild. But some people feel more tired and may need to change their daily routines.

    Your doctor will let you know if she thinks you should limit your activities.

    To keep your energy during radiation treatments:

    • Get enough rest.
    • Eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet.
    • Pace your activities, and plan frequent rest periods.

    Who Can I Talk to About My Treatments?

    Your doctor can answer questions about side effects, the goals of your treatment, and how the cancer is responding to radiation.

    You can talk to a hospital social worker about your feelings, family concerns, financial issues, and other aspects of your personal situation. If you don’t live close to where you’re being treated, you may be able to get help with housing or transportation.

    Great support and practical tips can come from talking with other people with cancer. Ask your doctor or social worker how to find good support groups near you or online.

    What Happens After Radiation Therapy?

    You'll see your doctor for follow-up exams and X-rays. She’ll tell you how often to come in.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on May 07, 2015
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