“We’ve made even more advances since this study began in 2005,” says K.S. Clifford Chao, MD, Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Columbia. “Investigators note that women at risk for cardiovascular problems received radiation for their left breast while lying on their backs. Today our patients can lie on their stomachs with their breast suspended downward. Radiation is then targeted at the affected area with no beams directed toward the heart.”
There are other significant advances patients should be aware of as well.
With newer, more sophisticated imaging systems, radiation oncologists can now account for changes in the patient’s anatomy, tumor size, weight, and internal motion, as well as changes in tumor biology and function. This approach, called Adaptive Radiotherapy (ART) enables physicians to create a highly personalized treatment plan for every patient, while also limiting the amount of radiation exposure within the treatment field.
A novel imaging technology called “CTVision,” also helps to reduce radiation to critical body structures. The CT scanner pivots around the patient, taking a series of pictures that pinpoint the exact location to receive radiation therapy.
In addition, patients can benefit from these innovative procedures:
Together, all these approaches help ensure the cardiovascular health of breast cancer survivors.
For more information on special care for breast cancer patients with underlying cardiac risk, see our article, Treating Cardiovascular Disease in Breast Cancer Patients