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Radiotherapy for early breast cancer

  • Radiotherapy to the breast is recommended after breast conserving surgery to remove any cancer cells that may be left in the breast and to reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back in the breast.
  • Radiotherapy to the chest wall is sometimes recommended after mastectomy for women at high risk of breast cancer coming back in the chest wall.
  • Radiotherapy to the lymph nodes in the armpit and/or lower neck is occasionally recommended after either type of breast surgery, for women who do not have surgery to the armpit, or for those at high risk of breast cancer coming back in the lymph nodes.

Timing of radiotherapy for early breast cancer

The timing of radiotherapy will depend on when services are available, how long it takes to recover from surgery and what other treatments are being given. If a woman is having chemotherapy, radiotherapy will usually start when chemotherapy ends. If a woman is not having chemotherapy, radiotherapy will usually start after surgery.

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