How Do the Doctors Decide If I Get Radiation Therapy Or Chemotherapy First?

Question: How do the doctors decide which treatment I should get first after surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy?

Answer: Typically, you have chemotherapy prior to radiation. The reason we do that is that chemotherapy is designed to help with the overall cure of the disease from a systemic standpoint. That is, to prevent the disease from coming back in vital organs such as lung, liver or bone. Radiation is designed to help make sure that the breast, the local area itself is free of disease. We think, in general, that it's more important to use the chemotherapy early on to try to address any possible spread of the disease. And then, when that's completed, then we do radiation to take care of the local problem. So, most patients see the chemotherapy first, followed by radiation.

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