Radiotherapy > Breast cancer
The targeted strength of radiotherapy against breast cancer.
For the treatment of breast cancer patients, we work closely with the certified breast cancer centre at Diakonie Hospital Stuttgart as well as with practicing gynaecologists.
In the interdisciplinary tumour team of the breast cancer centre, the gynaecologists at the breast center, together with radiation therapists, radiologists, pathologists and internists, develop the best therapy concepts for each individual patient according to the current international and national guidelines.
Radiotherapy after breast conserving surgery
Following a breast conserving surgery, the remaining breast should be given radiotherapy along with the adjacent chest wall (Click here for the Breast Cancer Guideline (in german language only)).
The purpose of this aftercare treatment is to kill any potentially remaining tumour cells and thus prevent recurrence of the disease (see: EBCTCG 2011, Lancet 378: 1707-1716).
In order to prepare for breast radiotherapy, a CT examination is carried out approximately one week before the actual start of radiotherapy, and an individual treatment plan is prepared for each patient concerned.
When planning radiotherapy, we attach particular importance to the exact coverage of the entire target volume with maximum protection of the risk areas (lungs and heart).
The radiotherapy begins approximately four to six weeks after the operation. It usually takes about five to six weeks and takes place five times a week on workdays. The radiotherapy itself takes only a few minutes. In order to detect and correct possible changes in the position of the breast receiving radiotherapy, control procedures are carried out at regular intervals directly before the therapy is given.
In the event of 'boost radiation', the former tumour bed is given a slightly higher total dose than the residual breast. This further reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence. Whether the boost radiation is given after radiotherapy to the entire breast or as a simultaneous integrated boost (= SIB), will be discussed with each patient in the first consultation in our outpatient clinic.
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a special radiotherapy technique in which the radiation is continuously adapted, i.e. modulated, to the target volume. In the case of special anatomical conditions, this special technique is used to avoid overdosing or underdosing small volumes.
Radiotherapy following breast removal (mastectomy)
Under certain conditions, radiotherapy to the thoracic wall is necessary even after removal of the mammary gland. It reduces the risk that the tumour will reappear in this area. In the case of high-risk patients, this also significantly increases their lifetime.
Patients with the following tumour characteristics benefit from radiotherapy following a mastectomy:
Large tumour (T3 or T4)
If more than 3 lymph nodes are affected
If the tumor could not be completely removed (R1, R2)
Sometimes additional criteria are needed for decision-making. The radiotherapist will discuss these with the affected patient during the personal consultation.
It is also possible to perform hypofractionated radiotherapy on the breast. The aim is to shorten the treatment period considerably if radiotherapy is well tolerated. This treatment option must be checked individually for each patient. Talk to us and we will be happy to advise you.
Skincare during radiotherapy
Skincare during the radiotherapy treatment is explained in detail by the doctor during the clarification consultation.
In order to avoid possible undesirable side effects, e.g. reddened, dry skin or small cracks in the skin as early as possible, a consultation is carried out at least once a week, including a physical examination by a doctor immediately after radiotherapy.