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Left-breast cancer treatment may damage your heart1

 

Radiation therapy can be highly effective, but for patients with left-breast cancer, it can leave your heart vulnerable to radiation exposure.
Learn more.

Left-breast cancer treatment may damage your heart1

 

Radiation therapy can be highly effective, but for patients with left-breast cancer, it can leave your heart vulnerable to radiation exposure.
Learn more.

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Radiation therapy

Permanent marks

 

Traditional radiation therapy also requires patients to receive small but permanent tattoos on their skin to help the radiation therapist position them for treatment. Learn More.

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AlignRT: no tattoos, less risk

 

AlignRT is different.

Instead of tattoos, it uses 3D cameras to track and monitor patients. It’s completely non-invasive, and, when coupled with a technique called Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) can help reduce the risk of heart damage in left-breast cancer treatments1.

Studies have shown it to be more accurate than traditional tracking methods2. More accuracy means more safety.
Learn More.

AlignRT: no tattoos, less risk

 

AlignRT is different.

Instead of tattoos, it uses 3D cameras to track and monitor patients. It’s completely non-invasive, and, when coupled with a technique called Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) can help reduce the risk of heart damage in left-breast cancer treatments1.

Studies have shown it to be more accurate than traditional tracking methods2. More accuracy means more safety.
Learn More.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do they know the radiation is going to the right place?

An individual treatment plan is generated for your radiation treatment. This provides all the parameters that are loaded into the treatment machine, to make sure the machine is set to deliver the correct amount of radiation each day. It will also contain instructions on to how to position you each day during treatment. The Radiation Therapist will follow these instructions when positioning you. Images may be taken prior to treatment to check that you are in exactly the same position that was planned, by comparing the machine images to those of the planning scan.

In a center that has AlignRT, a red light will shine onto your skin. The Radiation Therapists will use this to position you each day, and so skin marks and tattoos will no longer be necessary.  The AlignRT system will also monitor your position during treatment.

I’ve been told I’m having a “Deep Inspiration Breath Hold” treatment. What should I do to prepare?

The procedure is used often for patients with left-breast cancer, plus some other conditions, to reduce the negative side-effects of radiation. To prepare, follow the advice of your physician, which is typically to practice holding your breath for up to 20-30 seconds at a time, usually 2-8 times per practice session. This is what happens during DIBH treatments, so if you are ready for it, it will be easier for you. Also, if you are ready for DIBH, it enables the technique to be carried out more quickly, so you spend less time on the treatment table.

How long will the treatment take?

Treatments typically take on average between 5 and 30 minutes. This depends on the complexity of the individual treatment plan. Most of the time in the treatment room will be spent making sure you are in the correct position for treatment.  The beam on time is usually less than a minute each time. You will most likely have radiation delivered from multiple different machine angles.

How many days of treatment will I need?

The number of treatments will vary depending on your individual treatment plan. Radiation Therapy is delivered over a number of treatments. Each treatment is called a fraction.  It is normal to have anything from 1 to 45 fractions depending on your type of cancer. Most people have treatment once a day, Monday-Friday with a break over the weekends.

Will my hair fall out?

Radiation Therapy only effects the area that is being treated. Therefore, if you are having your head treated, the hair in the area that is being treated on your head will fall out.  If you are having your breast treated, you will not lose the hair on your head.

Am I radioactive after treatment?

No, you are not radioactive after the treatment with External beam Radiation Therapy

Where can I find this advanced technology?

How are radiation treatment centers managing their patients during the Coronavirus?

How should I talk to my doctor about this technology?

To support your conversation with your doctor, please feel free to use our downloadable discussion guide.

1 Zagar et al. Utility of Deep inspiration breath-hold for left sided breast radiation therapy in preventing early cardiac perfusion defects – A Prospective Study. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2017

2 Shah AP, et al. Clinical evaluation of interfractional variations for whole breast radiotherapy using 3-dimensional surface imaging. Pract Radiat Oncol 2013;3 (1):16-25.

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