Quick Answer: What happens after radiation for breast cancer?

The main short-term side effects of external beam radiation therapy to the breast are: Swelling in the breast. Skin changes in the treated area similar to a sunburn (redness, skin peeling, darkening of the skin) Fatigue.

How long does it take for the breast to heal after radiation?

Skin reactions from radiation therapy are usually strongest 1 or 2 weeks after you finish radiation therapy and then start to heal. It often takes 3 to 4 weeks for skin reactions to heal. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your radiation oncologist or nurse.

Can breast cancer spread after radiation?

Recurrent breast cancer may occur months or years after your initial treatment. The cancer may come back in the same place as the original cancer (local recurrence), or it may spread to other areas of your body (distant recurrence).

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What are the long-term side effects of radiation treatment for breast cancer?

Long-term side effects can include:

  • Breast changes: The breasts may shrink or become more dense after radiation. …
  • Brachial plexopathy: Radiation to the breast or chest wall can sometimes damage the nerves that run through the arm, wrist, and hand. …
  • Lymphedema: Lymphedema is swelling of the arm, hand, or chest.

How does your breast change after radiation?

In time radiotherapy can cause the breast tissue to change shape or shrink in size a little. This can happen to your natural breast tissue or a reconstructed breast. After radiotherapy, the breast might feel hard and less stretchy. This is due to a side effect called radiation fibrosis.

Do tumors grow back after radiation?

Normal cells close to the cancer can also become damaged by radiation, but most recover and go back to working normally. If radiotherapy doesn’t kill all of the cancer cells, they will regrow at some point in the future.

What can you not do during radiation treatment?

Spicy Foods – Radiation often causes nausea, loose stools, or constipation. Spicy foods can further irritate the stomach and the rectum and cause discomfort. Raw Fish/Shellfish – Radiation therapy kills healthy cells in addition to cancerous cells, which could reduce the strength of your immune system.

Which type of breast cancer is most likely to recur?

Among patients who were recurrence-free when they stopped endocrine therapy after five years, the highest risk of recurrence was for those with originally large tumors and cancer that had spread to four or more lymph nodes. These women had a 40 percent risk of a distant cancer recurrence over the next 15 years.

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How do I know if breast cancer has returned?

What are the symptoms of breast cancer recurrence?

  1. Breast lump or bumps on or under the chest.
  2. Nipple changes, such as flattening or nipple discharge.
  3. Swollen skin or skin that pulls near the lumpectomy site.
  4. Thickening on or near the surgical scar.
  5. Unusually firm breast tissue.

How long do you see an oncologist after breast cancer?

Physical Exams

Once your initial breast cancer treatment ends, you will need to see your oncologist every three or four months during the first two or three years.

Do breasts shrink after radiation?

Some women develop a hardening or thickening of the breast tissue after radiotherapy. This is called fibrosis. The breast may also shrink slightly over time. This can cause the breast to become harder and smaller than it was.

How long after radiation do you start to feel better?

Your skin should start to feel better a few weeks after therapy ends. But when it heals, it may be a darker color. And you’ll still need to protect yourself from the sun even after radiation therapy has ended.

How long does tiredness last after radiotherapy for breast cancer?

Radiation can give you fatigue that gets worse over time (called cumulative fatigue). It usually lasts 3 to 4 weeks after your treatment stops, but it can continue for up to 3 months. Hormone therapy deprives the body of estrogen, and that can lead to fatigue that may last throughout your treatment or longer.

How do you know if radiation therapy is working?

There are a number of ways your care team can determine if radiation is working for you. These can include: Imaging Tests: Many patients will have radiology studies (CT scans, MRI scans, PET scans) during or after treatment to see if/how the tumor has responded (gotten smaller, stayed the same, or grown).

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How long does the tiredness last after radiotherapy?

Tiredness after brain radiotherapy

The tiredness often reaches its maximum 1 to 2 weeks after the end of treatment. A small number of people are asleep for a lot of the day after a long course of radiotherapy to the brain. This called somnolence syndrome.

How long do the side effects of breast radiation last?

Most often, side effects from radiation therapy begin within a few weeks after starting treatment [9]. Once radiation therapy ends, short-term side effects will mostly go away within 2 weeks [9].