The Risks of Breast Radiotherapy and How to Avoid Them

  • Zsuzsanna Kahán
  • Katalin Hideghéty
  • Zoltán Varga


Besides its benefits, postoperative radiotherapy may cause damage to the irradiated healthy tissues, including inflammatory and/or fibrotic changes or even secondary cancers. Radiation pneumonitis or lung fibrosis may develop shortly after the administration of the radiotherapy. Fibrosis of the breast or the soft tissues exerts an impact on the cosmetic outcome and functioning. Life-threatening radiogenic complications such as ischaemic heart disease, and secondary malignancies may be observed only after a follow-up period of at least 10 years. The radiation damage may be progressive, and depends on various radiotherapy- and patient-related factors or even the systemic therapy. Technical developments including CT-based 3D conformal radiotherapy, IMRT, IGRT, the implementation of patient positioning and immobilization, radiotherapy planning and treatment verification systems in radiotherapy serve to lessen radiation hazards. Despite these beneficial achievements in sparing healthy tissues, radiotherapy still denotes a significant risk, which necessitates a careful estimate of the potential benefit of radiotherapy in each case, and determination of the treatment strategy accordingly.


Breast Cancer Patient Perfusion Defect Contralateral Breast Cancer Radiation Pneumonitis Breast Radiotherapy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zsuzsanna Kahán
    • 1
  • Katalin Hideghéty
    • 1
  • Zoltán Varga
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OncotherapyUniversity of SzegedSzegedHungary

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