NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Breast Cancer – Locally Advanced (STAGE III)
dosimetrist. They will plan the best dose, number and
shape of radiation beams, and number of treatments.
Your plan will be designed to treat the cancer while
sparing normal tissue. Special efforts will be made to
avoid or lessen radiation to the lungs and heart.
Once your treatment plan is made, a set-up session
is needed. This session is sometimes called “port
film” day or dress rehearsal. The set-up session
occurs in the treatment room.
The radiation therapists will help place you in the
correct position on the treatment table. Setup marks
are used for positioning. X-rays of the treatment
fields will be taken and viewed by your doctor. These
x-rays (or port films) are not for treatment. Your
doctor will approve treatment when your setup is
Treatment is given once a day on Monday through
Friday for about 5 to 6½ weeks. Each session can
take between 15 to 30 minutes. In general, treatment
is received at the same time each day.
Before treatment, you will be placed into the correct
position. You will lie on top of the breast board that
is on the treatment table. You must be in the same
position that was approved at the setup session.
Conformal techniques are used for breast cancer.
These techniques shape the radiation dose to the
cancer site to spare healthy tissue. 3D-CRT (
from different angles, a photon beam that matches
the shape of the tumor. IMRT (
herapy) is a form of 3D-CRT that further
modifies the beam’s intensity during treatment.
Besides radiation setup techniques, other methods
may be used to spare normal tissue. One method
may include holding your breath during treatment.
This is called “breath-hold.” Respiratory gating is also
a technique that can be performed to spare normal
tissue. The goal is to move your heart away from the
During treatment, you will be alone in the room. A
therapist will operate the machine from a nearby
room. He or she will be able to see, hear, and speak
with you at all times. As treatment is given, you may
hear noises. The machine will move around you to
different treatment angles. You will not see, hear, or
feel the radiation.
What to expect