New technology to research breast cancer reduces risk to heart and lungs

New technology to research breast cancer reduces risk to heart and lungs

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Breast cancer patients undergoing radiation in their left breast specifically are monitored by this new technology.

It's called Vision RT.

It precisely monitors a patient's pattern to ensure the radiation only goes where it needs to.

The infrared lights monitor movement of the treatment area. It also creates a 3-D image so doctors and therapist can pinpoint the radiation treatment on the cancer.

"The goal always remains to minimize the dose of radiation to the normal cells," said Dr. Raj Ahuja, Radiation Oncologist at Mercy Health Perrysburg Cancer Treatment Center.

Some of those normal cells at risk are in the heart and the left lung, and tracking the patients breathing patterns is connected.

"Once we monitor their breathing, if they take a breath in,  it moves the heart away from that area that we're treating," said Sherry Jones, Lead Radiation Therapist at Mercy Health Perrysburg Cancer Treatment Center. "So it protects the heart more, you receive less dose to the heart."

This means to keep the heart back, the patient has to hold their breath.

"If the line starts to waver up some then we will tell them to go ahead and breath," Jones said. "We'll turn the radiation off. Have them breathe through a little bit. Then we'll tell them again to hold their breath."

Doctors said this entire treatment processes lasts less than 15 minutes and does less harm to the healthy cells.

"The heart and lung are very sensitive to radiation," Dr. Ahuja said. "So, obviously we don't want to give excessive doses of radiation to these areas because any dose to the normal structure can lead to both short and long term radiation complications."

The radiation therapists at Mercy Health Perrysburg Cancer Treatment Center said they are continuing to get more calls from patients interested in this type of radiation treatment because of its ability to reduce the impact on the heart.

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