External Beam Radiation Therapy
External beam radiation therapy is a type of radiation that delivers high-energy X-ray beams to your tumour. It’s delivered by a machine called a ‘linear accelerator’.
Does external beam radiation therapy hurt?
Not at all. External beam radiation therapy is painless. In fact, you don’t see or feel the actual treatment.
Do I need to stay in hospital?
Most of the time, you don’t need to stay in hospital while you’re having external beam therapy. After your treatment, you can go home and continue with your usual routine.
What precautions do I need to take after treatment?
There are no special precautions you need to take, and you aren’t ‘radioactive’ after your treatment.
How safe is external beam radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy is considered a safe and important treatment for breast cancer. However, in some cases it may cause damage to the heart, in the years after your treatment, if you have left-sided breast cancer.
This is because the radiation beam directed at the tumour may come in contact with your heart.
As everyone’s size, shape, anatomy and tumour locations are different, your radiation oncologist doesn’t know whether this is a risk for you until after your CT planning scan.
If you are at risk, our radiation oncologists will use a technique called ‘Deep Inspiration Breath Hold’ (DIBH). This technique reduces the risk of radiation contact to the heart. DIBH is considered to be the most efficient way to reduce the radiation dose to the heart.
Deep Inspiration Breath Hold breast cancer - How DIBH works / What is it?
Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) is a technique that reduces the risk of radiation contact to the heart.
For women with left-sided breast cancer, a major concern is the dose of radiation delivered to the heart could increase the risk of heart disease.
DIBH is the most efficient way to minimise this risk; however, there are other methods to reduce the radiation dose to the heart.
DIBH is a technique that requires you to hold your breath during your CT scan (measurement scan) and each daily treatment.
You need to be able to hold your breath for a short period, around 20 seconds, several times during each daily treatment.
Learn more about the Deep Inspiration Breath Hold technique in your region