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Radiotherapy plays an integral role in treating patients at the Thames Breast Clinic. As part of each patient’s tailored treatment plan, radiotherapy is given to all patients undergoing breast conservation (lumpectomy). Some patients who have had a mastectomy may also require radiotherapy.
The decision about the type, duration and frequency of radiotherapy is led by the Consultant Oncologist at the Thames Breast Clinic multidisciplinary meeting. Typically the radiotherapy is given daily for 18 to 25 days.
Breast radiotherapy works by using X-rays to reduce the risk of breast cancer returning. The dosage is carefully calibrated to target only the area affected while minimizing harm to normal cells. In order minimize damage to surrounding organs, our team at the Thames Breast Clinic have adopted the Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) technique. During the radiotherapy the patient holds their breath for a short period of time, inflating their lungs and pushing the heart away from the treatment area to reduce any potential damage to the heart.
Intraoperative Radiotherapy (IORT)
At Thames Breast Clinic we are one of the few units to offer Single Dose Intraoperative Radiotherapy or IORT. This is an excellent option to consider for older patients with early breast cancer. It is estimated that up to 20% (1 in 5) patients may be suitable for this modern approach to giving radiotherapy.
Instead of the patient having to endure three and a half weeks of daily visits to a radiotherapy centre to receive external radiotherapy after their surgery, IORT is given during the breast cancer surgery whilst the patient is asleep and takes only ten minutes to administer. Apart from the obvious convenience of this treatment, there are a number of other benefits including less damage to the surrounding organs, especially the heart and lungs.
All patients considering IORT have a detailed discussion with one of the Thames Breast Clinic Consultant Oncologists who specialises in this treatment, ensuring that they are carefully assessed with regards to their suitability for this treatment.