Radiotherapy for breast cancer

Next to surgery and drug therapy, radiotherapy is the most frequently used treatment for breast cancer. As local radiotherapy and drug therapy (chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and antibody therapy) effectively complement each other, these treatment procedures are frequently combined.

Radiotherapy involves the use of ionizing radiation, e.g. X-rays, gamma rays or radiation with electrons. This damages the genetic content of the irradiated cells. As cancer cells have poorer repair mechanisms than healthy cells, they react very sensitively to the radiation and subsequently die. The irradiation is particularly effective in preventing local recurrences.