New Procedure Lowers Risk of Heart Disease During Cancer Treatment

April 8, 2013

A recent study found breast cancer radiation treatments increase the risk of heart disease for patients. However, a new procedure at UVa. Health System significantly reduces that risk.

Women undergoing the treatments hold their breath for 20 second increments, which allows radiation to target exactly where it is needed and avoid cardiac tissues.

"It takes the heart and chest wall, and physically moves them apart. The heart moves down and back, and the chest wall pushes out," said Radiation Oncology Professor Monica Morris. "So now the doses that we are getting are only scatter doses to the heart."

The procedure's minimal heart risk actually helps speed up treatment. It also decreases the cost for patients and insurance.

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