When is radiation boost given?

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Question from Kaye: When is radiation boost given? I am worried because I didn't have boost. I had bilateral mastectomy; main tumor was in upper inner quad—pleomorphic invasive lobular. Also had tumor in nipple with dermal lymphatics and high-grade DCIS with extensive comedo necrosis.
Answers - Lydia Komarnicky, M.D. If someone has a mastectomy and radiation therapy is necessary, typically the chest wall is treated, but not necessarily with a boost. The patients who typically receive a boost as part of their radiation treatment planning are those patients who have an intact breast.

In other words, those patients who've not had a mastectomy will require whole breast radiation plus a boost to where the tumor was located. If a mastectomy has been performed, there is no need to have a boost. Although rare circumstances happen where you may, but usually where a mastectomy is performed, a boost is not performed as part of the treatment plan.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Radiation Therapy Updates featured Lydia T. Komarnicky, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about advances in radiation therapy: the newest and best techniques, combining radiation therapy with other treatments, ways to manage, reduce or eliminate side effects, and more.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2004.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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