SMYRNA, TENN. - On August 15, 2017, the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center became the first hospital in Rutherford County to provide modern radiation therapy technique for patients with left-sided breast cancer.
The Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) technique allows the radiation therapy team to deliver significantly less radiation to the heart than standard procedures during daily treatments for breast cancer. With this technique, patients hold their breath for about 20 seconds at a time during daily radiation treatment dosages. This increases the distance between the heart and the left breast. When the natural space between the heart and the breast is at its greatest, treatment is delivered, reducing the heart's exposure to radiation. The True Beam(R) system is used to carefully monitor each patient's respiratory cycle during the treatment.
This treatment is a significant clinical advancement in reducing side effects, but it also has important benefits in reducing patient anxiety. The proximity of the heart and coronary vessels in patients with left-sided breast cancer can cause concern over whether to pursue therapy. The knowledge that the risk of radiation damage to the heart is significantly reduced can lessen some of the traditional treatment-related stress.
Our radiation oncologist, Casey Chollet, M.D, said, "This world-class breast cancer treatment greatly reduces the risks of long term cardiac side effects for patients needing radiation therapy to the left breast. Hopefully, this will lead a patient to feel more comfortable in her treatment decisions. Having this therapy option locally in Rutherford County allows us to offer the best treatment available for our breast cancer patients."