Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

What is radiation therapy for breast cancer?

Many breast cancer patients receive radiation therapy, a type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy particles and beams to destroy cancer cells. You may have radiation therapy in conjunction with other treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy. At Main Line Health, our expert radiation oncologists use the latest technology to give you powerful, precise treatment designed for your unique situation.

External radiation therapy (linear accelerator)

During external radiation therapy, our radiation oncologists aim high-powered X-ray beams at precise places in your body to eradicate any potential remaining cancer cells while protecting your normal surrounding healthy tissues. Using the most sophisticated technology to deliver radiation therapy, we offer comprehensive treatments for breast cancer that precisely target the tumor area, including stereotactic body radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy and image-guided radiation therapy.

Special technology allows us to target the area at risk for cancer even as you move and breathe during treatment. These advanced systems help you get treatment faster, with fewer side effects.

  • Volumetric modulated arc therapy – this technology offers targeted radiation at a faster pace with more accuracy
  • Patient monitoring system – this technology tracks your movement during radiation and shuts down automatically if your position changes during treatment
  • Respiratory gating technology – this technology synchronizes radiation timing with your breathing cycle


Intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT, uses sophisticated imaging and software to identify the exact size, shape and location of a tumor and to deliver a precise dose of radiation that conforms to the tumor area while protecting the normal surrounding tissue. This method may be used to target specific areas within a tumor as well. IMRT offers the ability to control the intensity and shape of the radiation treatment beams. Not only does this allow for greater precision but it also minimizes side effects for the patient.

TrueBeam® linear accelerator

The TrueBeam linear accelerator is a state-of-the-art, powerful treatment option. TrueBeam combines imaging, beam delivery and sophisticated motion management to accurately and precisely target tumors more efficiently. Real-time imaging tools allow clinicians to "see" the tumor they are about to treat, allowing them to target tumors with accuracy measured in millimeters. Treatments that once took 10 to 30 minutes can now be completed in less than two minutes, significantly shortening treatment time and duration.

Internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy)

Internal radiation therapy, called brachytherapy, involves placement of radiation "seeds" inside the breast to eradicate any potential remaining cancer cells from within. Brachytherapy is precisely targeted and can be used to deliver a higher dose of radiation to kill the cancer cells while minimizing damage to the nearby healthy tissues. In some cases, you may have brachytherapy in addition to regular external radiation therapy.


Cancer Care

From diagnosis and throughout treatment, Main Line Health cancer specialists (oncologists) provide compassionate care for you and your loved ones through all stages of cancer treatment.