If I Have Radiation Therapy Once to a Breast, Can I Ever Get It Again to the Same Breast?

Question: If I have radiation therapy once to a breast, can I ever get it again to that breast or area of my chest?

Answer: Now, with current techniques, when we do treatment and long-term follow-up, we know that that area looks very, very similar to the opposite breast. These techniques have been developed and perfected, over a long period of time.

We do know, however, that the body does not completely forget the effects of radiation. And that if we were to deliver the same course of treatment to the area, we would have complications, which are much greater than with just a single course of treatment. So that our current understanding is that, except for very unusual situations, we would not give a radiation to a previously treated area, because of the concern about a much higher rate of complication.

So, the answer is: no, we would, in most circumstances, not re-treat a previously treated area.


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