Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

Our Radiation Therapy department offers the latest, state-of-the-art treatment technologies including targeted therapies that deliver maximum doses of radiation with a decreased risk of side effects.  Radiation is often used after a lumpectomy or mastectomy to minimize the chance that breast cancer cells linger in the breast, chest wall or lymph nodes.

When is radiation therapy recommended for breast cancer?

After breast cancer surgery

Sometimes radiation therapy is recommended after a lumpectomy or mastectomy to destroy any of the cancer that may not have been removeable via surgery. This helps lower the possibility that the cancer will return. Alternatively, your care team may recommend chemotherapy instead, or may recommend both radiation therapy and chemotherapy depending on the cancer and your treatment goals.

Primary treatment

When the cancer is too large or too diffuse to be removed via surgery alone, or if it has already spread to distant parts of the body (metastatic,) surgery for breast cancer may not be recommended. In those cases, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may be the best course of action.

Does radiation therapy hurt?

The procedure itself is painless, but repeated treatments may cause skin discomfort or damage over time. Skin damage from radiation therapy will heal, but it can be uncomfortable. It’s important to discuss what to expect with your care team.

Radiation therapy treatments are planned carefully and targeted precisely to minimize your discomfort. At NGMC, we focus on the most advanced treatments available, focusing on highly localized and minimally invasive approaches whenever we can.

Radiation Therapy Types for Breast Cancer

External beam radiation

The most traditional form of radiation therapy, external beam radiation involves targeting a beam of high-energy X-ray radiation at the breast or a smaller affected area of the breast. Traditionally, these types of treatments needed to be scheduled daily over several weeks, but NGMC provides this therapy via hypofractionated treatments at several of our locations. Hypofractionation delivers fewer treatments at a higher dose per treatment, helping limit the number of times patients must come for treatment, lowering the cost of care and often providing reduced side effects for our cancer patients.


Brachytherapy treatments involve placing a radioactive source in close proximity to the cancer to target a high dose of radiation to the cancer, while sparing surrounding structures from significant radiation exposure. This minimizes side effects, pain and discomfort by limiting the amount of healthy tissue that is damaged through radiation. Our department’s expertise in brachytherapy has advanced to the point that other regional radiation centers refer their patients to NGMC for these specialized procedures.

Patient Navigation

No one is prepared for a cancer diagnosis. Our patient navigation program is a free offering for patients who need help with anything from navigating the treatment journey to those who need transportation to appointments or nutritious food. Learn more and reach out to our cancer Patient Navigators.

Contact Us Today

For more information about breast cancer care available at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, call 770-219-8815.