Post-mastectomy radiation therapy
Similar to what we mentioned in the case of lumpectomy; mastectomy is always followed with radiation therapy. After doctors have taken out the tumor, there’s no way to know whether or not there’s a remaining tumor cell that might start to grow and create problems once again. This is why post-mastectomy radiation is a standard of care, especially in tumors larger than 5 centimeters and when 4 or more lymph nodes are taken. Side effects of this type of therapy include breast swelling and pain, skin problems, and fatigue. In some cases, especially after large doses, patients may experience late toxicity that includes fibrosis, pain that lasts for 6 months after treatment, and breast edema.