New Radiation Guidelines For Breast Cancer Patients
By: Courtney Floyd
Should you have radiation after a mastectomy?
New guidelines issued by the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Practical Radiation Oncology and the Annals of Surgical Oncology suggest more breast cancer patients should consider radiation therapy after a mastectomy.
The new guidelines say research shows radiation treatment after a mastectomy decreases the risk of breast cancer recurrence and patients with smaller tumors and three or less lymph nodes involved can benefit from radiation therapy.
It is important to remember to discuss all options with your oncologist and the pros and cons of each treatment option to decide what is right for you.
To gain insight on radiation therapy from a breast reconstruction perspective, I reached out to our very own Dr. Ramon Garza III. Here is what he had to say:
Radiation increases the risk of complications and poor outcomes in breast reconstruction. Although radiation is a necessary and effective treatment option for some patients, it is important to know it can negatively affect wound healing and can cause many complications - especially with implant based reconstructions. At PRMA, we recommend using a patient’s own tissue for breast reconstruction if he/she has undergone radiation. Performing a flap procedure like the DIEP flap, allows us to remove damaged radiated skin and tissue and replace it with healthy skin and tissue from another part of the body.
Even without radiation, implants have a 50% incidence of requiring revision surgery or implant removal after about 10 years. This number increases in the face of radiation. With a procedure using a patient’s tissue the end results are permanent—there is no need for additional surgeries years down the road.
Again, it is important to discuss all of your options with your physician.