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Conditions We Treat: Breast Cancer

The most common approach for breast cancer radiation involves adjuvant therapy, which is delivered after surgery to prevent the tumor from returning. At Johns Hopkins, our highly trained radiation oncologists use a multidisciplinary approach to treat breast cancer as precisely and effectively as possible.

Breast Cancer: Why Choose Johns Hopkins

  • Accredited radiation centers: All of our radiation oncology centers for breast cancer treatment are accredited by the American Society for Radiation Oncology Accreditation Program for Excellence, for promoting safety and quality in radiation oncology practice.
  • Renowned, highly trained physicians: Our physicians are nationally recognized for clinical excellence and have participated in the country’s top training programs for breast cancer treatment. They are actively involved in supporting national breast cancer organizations and publishing the latest information on breast cancer research and treatment.
  • Multidisciplinary care: We provide true multidisciplinary care for patients with breast cancer. Regardless of the type of treatment, the patient meets with our team of surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists to ensure that the treatment plan is as comprehensive and effective as possible.
  • Focused treatment: Most of our radiation oncologists are focused on treating breast cancer exclusively. This allows our physicians to deepen their expertise and sharpen their skills in breast cancer treatment. 
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Our Team of Breast Cancer Specialists

Our radiation oncologists develop and deliver multidisciplinary treatment plans that target breast cancer with precision.

Photo of Dr. Sara Rachel Alcorn, M.D., M.P.H.

Alcorn, Sara Rachel, M.D., M.P.H.

Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Breast Cancer, External Beam Radiation Therapy, Image-Guided Radiation Therapy, Metastatic Bone Disease, Prone Breast Radiation, Radiation Oncology, Sarcoma, Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Photo of Dr. Fariba Asrari, M.D.

Asrari, Fariba, M.D.

Director, Johns Hopkins Breast Center - Green Spring Station
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Bladder Cancer, Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Endometrial Cancer, Esophageal Cancer, Gynecologic Cancers, Lung Cancer, Lymphoma, Medical Oncology, Melanoma, Metastatic Bone Disease, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Radiation Oncology, Rectal Cancer, Skin Cancer, Small Cell Lung Cancer, Squameous Cell Carcinoma, Testicular Cancer, Vulvar Cancer
Photo of Dr. Victoria Jane Croog, M.D.

Croog, Victoria Jane, M.D.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Sibley Memorial Hospital
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Brain Cancer, Brain Metastases, Breast Cancer, CNS Autoimmune/Inflammatory Disorders, Gastrointestinal Cancers, Gynecologic Cancers, Primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma, Radiation Oncology, Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy
Photo of Dr. Susan Fletcher Stinson, M.D.

Stinson, Susan Fletcher, M.D.

Medical Director, Suburban Hospital Cancer Program
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Breast Cancer, Grave's Obitopathy, Gynecologic Cancers, Keloids, Radiation Oncology
Photo of Dr. Jean Lundberg Wright, M.D.

Wright, Jean Lundberg, M.D.

Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences
Associate Professor of Oncology
Director of Breast Cancer Program, Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Breast Cancer, Radiation Oncology, Thoracic Cancer

Our Breast Cancer Treatments

  • Our radiation oncologists most commonly use a type of external beam radiation called three-dimensional (3-D) conformal radiation therapy. In some cases, other techniques, such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), may be used. By using computed tomography (CT) simulation during treatment planning, the oncologist can get the patient into the ideal position for radiation delivery. It also allows the oncologist to distribute an even radiation dose over the breast, ensuring sufficient delivery to target areas while minimizing side effects.
  • Our radiation oncologists treat patients in either the prone (face down) or supine (face up) positions, depending on the clinical scenario and the patient’s anatomy. In some cases, we use a prone breast board to improve the evenness of the radiation dose and protect the patient’s heart and lungs.  
  • When needed, we recommend specific breath-hold techniques for patients with left-sided breast cancer who are being treated in the supine position. These techniques are known to protect the heart during radiation.
  • We provide the option of using ultraviolet tattoos to permanently mark areas for breast cancer radiation. Patients appreciate the cosmetic benefits of only being able to see the tattoo under ultraviolet light. 

Our Research

Gloved hand injecting liquid sample into test tube
  • Our research focuses on individualizing radiation treatments and minimizing the extent/dose of radiation to reduce side effects.
  • We are exploring several ways to decrease the extent of tissue that’s exposed to radiation, including the following:
    • For patients who have node-positive breast cancer and are treated with preoperative chemotherapy, we’re studying how safe it is to avoid radiating the lymph nodes to prevent the associated side effects.
    • For early-stage breast cancer patients who need chemotherapy, we’re studying the use of partial breast radiation at the same time as chemotherapy.
    • We’re exploring the possibility of omitting radiation in postmenopausal women with early-stage, estrogen-receptor-positive cancer.
  • For patients with node-positive breast cancer who do not have a complete response to preoperative chemotherapy, we are studying how using radiation prior to surgery with a radiation-sensitizing drug may increase the likelihood that the tumor will respond completely to the preoperative treatment.

Our Locations

Johns Hopkins Hospital

We have several convenient locations throughout the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., region that provide radiation treatment for breast cancer.

  • The Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Health Care & Surgery Center — Green Spring Station
  • Sibley Memorial Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Health Care & Surgery Center — Bethesda
  • Central Maryland Radiation Oncology

Learn more about our locations.

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