How Do You Prepare for Radiation Therapy After a Lumpectomy?


Quick Answer

Preparing for radiation after lumpectomy generally involves meeting with a treatment team, undergoing a simulated treatment, receiving ink marks or small tattoos, and possibly receiving an implant for internal radiation, states Mayo Clinic. Generally, radiation doesn't start for several weeks following lumpectomy surgery, allowing the body to heal, asserts WebMD.

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The treatment team for radiation therapy generally includes a radiation oncologist, a radiation physicist and dosimetrist, a radiation oncology nurse, and a radiation therapist, states Mayo Clinic. The patient undergoes a simulated treatment to allow her treatment team to map the breast and pinpoint the precise location for delivery of radiation. Ink marks or small tattoos serve as guides during radiation. It is important not to remove ink marks, or the patient may have to repeat the mapping process. During radiation, patients should avoid wearing lotion, deodorant and jewelry. They should also avoid using latex bandages and powder.

If the oncologist recommends chemotherapy, patients often start this treatment before beginning radiation, according to WebMD. External or internal radiation may treat breast cancer. External radiation is the most common type and focuses a beam on a very specific area of the body, while internal radiation, or brachytherapy, delivers radiation internally to a specific area through an implant. If a patient needs an internal device, she may require one implant or several small implants.

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