Breast Cancer Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy can be an important part of breast cancer treatment.

The doctor who decides what areas to treat and how they are treated is your radiation oncologist, part of your coordinated care team.  

At the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, we have state-of-the-art treatment and imaging technology and are leaders in image-guided radiation therapy. We are also the only hospital in the Pacific Northwest to use Intrabeam therapy. This type of radiation delivers precisely controlled energy to the area directly around a tumor without going through healthy tissue. Using IntraBeam can mean fewer treatments and side effects.

Types of radiation treatment include:

  • Radiation to the whole breast, using conformal external beam radiation therapy: a radiation treatment from a machine outside the body, where a radiation beam passes through the body.
  • Radiation to part of the breast with conformal beam radiation therapy: instead of treating the whole breast with radiation, this treatment uses radiation in the area where the tumor was removed, using several shaped beams of radiation.
  • Intrabeam therapy to part of the breast: a radiation therapy given through a small probe immediately, or in a separate surgery once the breast tumor is removed. This treatment can reduce the number of radiation sessions needed to treat breast cancer.
  • Post-mastectomy radiation therapy: a radiation therapy for the chest and lymph nodes after a mastectomy.