|A new treatment board allow patients to lie on their stomach|
during radiation treatment, and is proving more effective
for breast cancer patients.
Researchers have develop a modified treatment board that allows patients to lie comfortably on their stomachs while the breast tissue falls away from the chest wall, allowing the radiation to target the cancer. Traditionally, women who undergo radiation therapy lie on their backs in the supine position. While that approach can be effective, there is a slight chance of radiation damage to healthy heart and lung tissue.
Each patient uses a bean bag or “vac bag” that is customized to their shape and used to immobilize their arms during the treatment. Additionally, the modified board is able to extend off the treatment table, giving the radiation beam space to make a full rotation around the patient. Traditional radiation therapy has been associated with long-term problems in the shape of the affected breast, with good cosmetic outcomes found in only 60-to-70 percent of cases.
The researchers say that the women who take advantage of the prone-position breast board are typically women who caught their breast cancer early, who’ve opted to have a lumpectomy and hope to preserve as much of the breast tissue and shape of the original breast as possible. Recent studies show prone radiation therapy cuts the amount of lung and heart tissue affected by radiation therapy by 90 percent.