Radiotherapy for breast cancer

Radiotherapy is a common treatment for breast cancer. It uses high energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. For breast cancer, you usually have external beam radiotherapy. This means using radiation from a machine to destroy the cancer. 

You usually have radiotherapy after surgery to lower the risk of the cancer coming back. You might also have it if you have secondary breast cancer. This means that the breast cancer has spread from the breast to different parts of the body such as the brain or bones. 

Planning radiotherapy for breast cancer

Before you can start radiotherapy, your team needs to plan your treatment. This means working out the dose of radiotherapy you need and exactly where you need it

Having radiotherapy for breast cancer

You might have external beam radiotherapy after breast surgery to lower the risk of the cancer coming back. This is usually over 1 to 3 weeks depending on your situation. 

Side effects of breast radiotherapy

The side effects of external radiotherapy to the breast include tiredness and changes to the skin in the treatment area.

Last reviewed: 
29 Jun 2023
Next review due: 
29 Jun 2026