· Those in Singapore for 2 weeks or more.
· Those who wish to treat breast cancer safely and effectively.
· Those who wish to get radiotherapy treatment with shorter treatment sessions.
· Those who want to get an advanced cancer treatment.
· Those who want to prevent recurrence of cancer.
What is Breast Radiotherapy Programme?
Radiotherapy is an effective treatment for breast cancer and is often done after a breast conserving surgery to help prevent recurrence. This treatment is one of the proven ways to eliminate cancer cells and prevent recurrences. Radiotherapy to the regional lymph nodes can also help to prevent recurrences whenever the lymph nodes have tumors. In recent years, both technology and medical advances have made it possible to customize individual treatment techniques so that patients can have the best control with the least possible side effects.
How It Works
The treatment techniques at our affiliated hospital:
· Hypofractionated Breast Radiotherapy
This enables a shorter treatment course of 15 sessions instead of the conventional 25 sessions (reduced by 2 weeks). A few additional boost sessions may be added depending on your condition.
· Volumetric Arc Therapy (VMAT)
This advanced treatment technique uses arc therapy and beam modulation to ensure a homogeneous dose distribution in a complex chest wall anatomy. This technique can benefit you by reducing daily treatment time, sparing the organs at risk and reducing side effects.
· Regional Nodal Irradiation
This technique targets the surrounding lymph nodes of the affected breast. This will reduce the possibility of future recurrences.
· External Beam Partial Breast Irradiation (PBI)
Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) can be given to selected patients (especially those in the early stage) with similar outcomes as whole breast irradiation. Only the area around the tumor is treated, enabling shorter treatment time of 10 treatments that can be completed within 2 weeks. Previously, this was done using invasive methods using needles and applicators such as brachytherapy or intra-operative radiotherapy (IORT). Now, APBI can be effectively delivered using external beam radiation therapy technology.
Facilities and Equipment at Our Affiliated Hospital
· Active Breathing Coordinator™ (ABC)
This device can help you to hold your breath during the radiotherapy treatment. With consistent breath holds, the procedure can be more comfortable. Used during left-sided breast radiotherapy, the chest wall is expanded away from the heart so that it receives only very low doses.
· Breast Compression Plate
This will be added in certain cases to compress the target breast tissue and decrease the thickness of the treatment area. This allows a lower beam energy to be selected which results in lesser stray radiation to the underlying organs.
· Mould Room (Workshop)
Mould Room facilities allow fabrication of patient-customised lead plaques that are used to shape the radiation beam for Tumor Bed Boost treatments. It protects healthy tissues from unnecessary radiation exposure.
· Breast Board
An additional head mask will be used to keep the neck straight during the treatment to the supraclavicular lymph node area. This protects the central organs from the radiation field.
Advantages and Limitations of Breast Radiotherapy Programme
· Less damage to nearby healthy tissue
· Direct target to cancer cells
· Reduces exposure to radiation
· Shorter treatment time
· Advanced facilities and equipment
· Skin may become sensitive during treatment
Q1: Does the hospital have safe treatment protocols?
A1: Yes. At our affiliated hospital, all patients receiving radiation therapy will have their history and treatment plans reviewed by MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC). This means that the Breast Radiotherapy team in Concord International Hospital and MDACC, comprising of Radiation Oncologists, Medical Physicists and Dosimetrists, will agree with the treatment strategy and radiation plan before it is being incorporated into the actual treatment which is delivered by the Radiation Therapists.
Q2: Will it hurt?
A2: It will not hurt. But side effects may occur.
Q3: How can I manage the side effects?
A3: Our affiliated hospital have dedicated nurses who will give guidance on how to manage radiotherapy side effects to patients. This includes ways to handle sensitive skin during the course of the treatment and some exercises that can be done throughout the treatment course.
Q4: Will I be exposed to radioactive substances?
A4: This is a highly accurate device, which means only cancer cells will be targeted. Your healthy tissues will be protected from unnecessary radiation.
Q5: Can the tumor grow back?
A5: Yes, there is always a risk of cancer relapse even if a mastectomy is performed. According to studies, there is a similar chance of 2 to 5% after 5 years after treatment for the tumor to grow back.
[Clinic Name] Concord International Hospital (Radiation Therapy Centre @ Basement 1)
[Nearest Station/ Nearest Tourist Destination] 5 mins distance to Coronation Shopping Plaza and Serene Centre Shopping Mall; takes about 7 to 11 mins walking distance to the nearest bus stop
[Radiation Therapy Centre Opening Time] Monday - Friday (8:30AM - 5:00PM); Saturday (By Appointment); Sunday and Public Holidays (Closed)