NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Breast Cancer – Locally Advanced (STAGE III)
What to expect
For breast cancer, the most common radiation
method is EBRT (
A large machine makes radiation beams used for
treatment. This machine is called a LINAC (
The beams consists of high-energy x-rays, which are
a type of photon radiation. They will move through
your body at the speed of light. There is no ongoing
radiation inside of you after the treatment session.
You will not have to avoid people.
It takes a team of people to perform the radiation
therapy. The radiation team consists of doctors,
medical physicists, dosimetrists, nurses, and
radiation therapists. Your team will work together to
design your treatment plan and provide treatment.
A planning session is needed to map out your
treatment. The planning process is called simulation.
It involves obtaining a CT scan. The planning session
takes about one hour.
You will not have to do anything to prepare. It may
be helpful to wear easy-to-remove clothes since
you’ll change into a gown. You will need to remove
necklaces and long earrings.
In the CT room, there will be a table with a breast
board. The breast board is used to keep you in place
during treatment. The radiation therapists will let
you know whether to lie face down or face up on the
table. At least one of your arms will be raised above
your head. Red laser lights are used to help position
Once on the table, thin strips of sticky markers are
often applied to the skin. These markers will be
placed on your scars as well as your breast or chest
wall. Next, a CT scan will be done. The medical
physicist or dosimetrist will take measurements of
The CT images will be transferred to a treatment
planning computer. Any remaining breast tumor, the
surgical site, other organs, and the markers can be
seen on the scan. This information will show your
radiation oncologist where to direct the radiation.
This area is called the treatment field.
After the treatment fields are set, your skin will be
marked for treatment sessions. Setup marks are
made with ink or tiny permanent tattoos. Also, photos
of your set up are taken. The marks and photos will
be used to position you for daily treatment sessions.
After simulation, your radiation team will further
plan your treatment. Plans are made viewing your
CT scans on the treatment planning computer.
Your radiation oncologist will work closely with a
What to expect