Breath Hold

Radiation Oncology Helps Patients Fight Cancer

Breath Hold is for patients with left-sided breast cancers. Not all patients benefit from breath hold, but all left breast patients are evaluated to see if they would benefit. For about two out of three patients, breath hold will reduce the radiation dose to the heart and may decrease the risk of future radiation-induced heart problems, such as coronary artery disease and heart attacks.

Breath hold require patients to hold their breath for 20-25 seconds during radiation treatments. By holding a certain amount of air in the lungs, the heart is moved out of the path of the radiation beam.

To do this accurately, patients have a small optical sensor placed on their chest while lying on the treatment table. A computer tracks the position of this sensor. The machine will not deliver any radiation unless the chest is in the right position.

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