Radiation Therapy: Special Issues When Treating Young Women with Breast Cancer

  • Elżbieta SenkusEmail author


Radiotherapy, in addition to surgery and appropriate systemic therapy, plays a crucial role in the management of all stages of breast cancer. There are no major differences regarding the indications or techniques of radiotherapy in young breast cancer patients; young age, however, is a well-recognized independent unfavorable prognostic factor for both locoregional and distant disease control, so young patients may often need a more aggressive approach for optimal treatment outcome. Importantly, because of underlying increased recurrence risk, the absolute benefit from all treatment modalities, including radiation therapy, is higher in this population.

At the same time, young patients are potentially more concerned about the appearance of their breasts and thus more worried about the possible negative impact of radiotherapy on cosmesis, in particular when breast reconstruction is involved. Their young age makes them also more prone to other long-term sequelae of radiotherapy, such as cardiovascular morbidity and second malignancies. Thus, particular care is required when deciding about radiotherapy indications and techniques, as well as during planning and implementation of irradiation.


Breast cancer Young women Adjuvant radiotherapy Breast-conserving therapy Postmastectomy radiotherapy 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Oncology & RadiotherapyMedical University of GdańskGdańskPoland

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