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Radiation therapy is a highly targeted, highly effective way to destroy cancer cells that may linger after surgery. This reduces the risk of recurrence.
Radiation is usually given after mastectomy in men with:
large cancers (5 centimeters or bigger)
a positive margin of resection (when the cancer comes very close to or is at the edge of the breast tissue removed)
a significant area of lymphatic or blood vessel involvement
significant lymph node involvement (four or more positive nodes)
After mastectomy, radiation therapy is usually given 5 days a week for about 5-7 weeks.
Radiation can also be used for men with advanced (metastatic) disease to relieve symptoms or help avoid complications from specific areas of spread. For example, radiation can help relieve painful bone metastases, decrease the risk of breaking a bone that's been weakened by cancer, decrease bleeding from skin involvement, and reduce neurological symptoms if the cancer puts pressure on nerves or the spinal cord.
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