In February Americans commemorated the 57th “American Heart Month”  which President Lyndon B. Johnson started in 1964. The American Heart Association (AHA) created “Go Red for Women”  to increase women’s heart health awareness. 

For women with left-sided breast cancer, protecting the heart from radiation is paramount as the heart lies underneath the left chest well, very close to the breast. 

There are 2 primary ways of sparing the heart from high dose radiation when designing a women’s radiation plan:

1. Prone positioning (face down)

2. Deep Inspiratory Breath Hold (DIBH) where the patient inhales, moving the chest wall away from the heart while the radiation beam is on. 

Both techniques can reduce the amount of radiation received by the heart muscle and coronary arteries and I recommend women discuss these options with their radiation oncologist. 

Here is what my patient, Ms. Serena Coachman, has to say about Deep Inspiratory Breath Hold radiation for treatment of her left-sided breast cancer… 

Patient-focused treatment, and an individualized approach to oncology means Dr. Norleena Gullett is not just treating cancer, she's treating the whole person.