When fighting left-breast cancer, who is looking out for your heart?
Radiation can be a powerful treatment for breast cancer.
But your left breast is very close to your heart. We work to make sure that the radiation treatment you need today does not affect your heart tomorrow. Here at John Stoddard Cancer Center, we use AlignRT®, the premier radiation therapy guidance system, that has been shown to reduce radiation exposure to your heart while you're treated for left-breast cancer.
Fight the cancer. Spare the heart.
When treating cancer with radiation therapy, our goal is to deliver radiation to your breast area while protecting surrounding healthy tissue from exposure and potential damage. If you have left-breast cancer, we take extra precautions to make sure that your heart receives minimal radiation exposure during your treatment.
AlignRT helps us make sure your heart is in the right place.
During treatment planning, you'll lie on your back for 3D images to be taken of your body. We'll ask you to take and hold a deep breath — usually for 15-25 seconds — so that your breast area is as far from your heart as it can be. This is called Deep Inspiration Breath Hold, or DIBH*. Then, during treatment, you'll take and hold a deep breath in the same way as before. When your breast surface is at the right position, the display lights turn green and AlignRT turns the radiation beam on. Using three cameras to monitor thousands of points on your skin, AlignRT can detect any motion as you hold your breath — side to side, up and down, forward and back and more — with submillimeter accuracy. So if you move out of position, the radiation beam is turned off. Your cancer is treated. And your heart is protected.
A recent study¹ showed that AlignRT + DIBH effectively prevented radiation-induced abnormalities in blood flow to the heart. Of the breast cancer patients treated, 0% showed these abnormalities after six months. This compares to a previous study without AlignRT or DIBH, where 27% of patients showed new abnormalities in blood flow to the heart 6 months after radiation therapy².
Advanced Technology for Advanced Institutions
AlignRT – by Vision RT – is the premier SGRT (Surface Guided Radiation Therapy) imaging tool. In fact, Vision RT systems are now in 37 of the top 50 US News "Best Hospitals for Cancer".
Appreciated by Patients
Alison Young had her left breast treated with radiation therapy in 2016. Her center in London, UK, used AlignRT and DIBH.
"When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, getting the best type of treatment became my top priority. Knowing that breath-holding, as part of the radiotherapy treatment, would significantly – if not completely – reduce the risk of long-term damage to my heart was extremely comforting.
"The technique from AlignRT made the whole process simple and easy to follow. I feel very lucky to have had access to technology like this during my treatment. If I'd have known the benefits before, I would have felt even more empowered and relaxed during treatment."
We're Looking Our for Your Heart
With AlignRT®, we're using the latest technology to protect your heart in treating your cancer. For more information, please call 515-241-4330.
AlignRT® is a medical device for prescription use, with FDA 510(k) clearance. Refer to the product guide for information on intended uses, warnings, and precautions. There are no known side effects or contraindications.
*This is a typical treatment for left breast radiation therapy; individual circumstances may vary.
¹Zagar et al. Prospective Assessment of Deep Inspiration Breath Hold to Prevent Radiation Associated Cardiac Perfusion Defects in Patients With Left-Sided Breast Cancer J Appl Clin Med Phys. ;93:3S 2027, plus recent personal communication
²Marks et al. The incidence and functional consequences of RT-associated cardiac perfusion defects. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2005 Sep 1;63(1):214-23.