How Does Radiation Treatment for Breast Cancer Work?

How Does Radiation Treat Breast Cancer?

Radiation Therapy - Man Laying Down - 150x150In recent years, more treatment options have been available to breast cancer patients than ever before. Despite the newer forms of treatment, radiation therapy has been one of the most popular treatment options among breast cancer patients dating back 100 years. But how does it work?

Radiation therapy uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells. Although radiation kills cancer cells, many patients wonder how it will affect their normal cells. Will radiation damage healthy cells too? Can these cells be restored?

Radiation Oncologist Dr. Afshin Forouzannia, discusses how radiation treatment works and how it affects your body’s cells.

Transcript

Afshin Forouzannia:  Let’s discuss how the radiation treatment actually damages the cancer cell.

Radiation treatments are used to treat cancer and main way that they work is by damaging the cancer cells, DNA, now it also damages the normal cell DNA, but the advantage that we have or the advantage that the normal cells have is that they can repair very well.  They have a very strong ability to repair damages that are done.  The weakness in cancer cells, one of their main weakness is that they don’t have that ability or their ability is very poor to repair themselves.

So, if you get radiation over and over during a period of time then hopefully you take advantage of the normal cell’s ability to repair itself and the cancer cell’s inability to repair itself and after a long period of time then hopefully you have gotten rid of the cancer cell and the normal tissue is able to recover from the damage that has been done.