Monday, October 13, 2014

Stomach position can cut radiation exposure in breast cancer treatment

YouTube video courtesy OSU
Comprehensive Cancer Center
CANCER DIGEST – Oct. 14, 2014 – Researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center have devised a treatment board that allows breast cancer patients to lie on their stomachs for radiation treatments following surgery for the cancer.

The center’s Dr. Julia White says the prone board allows gravity to pull the breast away from the chest wall and create a more uniform shape that enables better distribution of the radiation dose.

“With this board we can keep the radiation in front of the ribs,” White said in a press release, “so we don’t even need to go into the thoracic cavity and skim the lung and heart.” 

Traditionally, women who undergo radiation therapy lie on their backs in the supine position. While that approach can be effective, there is a slight chance of radiation damage to healthy heart and lung tissue. It has also has been associated with long-term problems in the shape of the affected breast, with good cosmetic outcomes found in only 60-to-70 percent of cases.

Recent studies show prone radiation therapy cuts the amount of lung and heart tissue affected by radiation therapy by 90 percent. White says that the women who take advantage of the prone-position breast board are typically women who caught their breast cancer early, who’ve opted to have a lumpectomy and hope to preserve as much of the breast tissue and shape of the original breast as possible.

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