8 Questions to Ask About Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

There have been so many advances in radiation therapy in the past few years that choosing a therapeutic approach is not as simple as it used to be. Here are some questions that you or your parent will want to ask her oncologist when deciding on a plan of treatment.

  • Is there a risk that the radiation will damage the lungs?
  • If the tumor is in the left breast, do we need to worry about damage to the heart?
  • Would using IMRT reduce the risk of damage to the lungs, heart, or surrounding skin tissue?
  • Is the tumor in a location that can be affected by movement from breathing or digestion?
  • If so, are you considering using techniques to control or compensate for movement during radiation?
  • Do deodorant, lotion, and other products interfere with radiation therapy?
  • If so, how long before treatment should these products be avoided?
  • Will the radiation cause cosmetic damage to the skin?

Melanie Haiken

Melanie Haiken discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions when she was health editor of Parenting magazine. See full bio