Protecting Your Heart During Radiation

Breast Cancer-Connecting, Educating, and Inspiring Globally.

What is a deep inspiration breath-hold?

When you take a deep breath and hold it, your diaphragm pulls your heart away from your chest. This is known as a deep inspiration breath-hold. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer you and your doctor will develop a treatment plan. One method of treating breast cancer is w/radiation therapy which uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy cells. Radiation therapy is usually given after a lumpectomy for 1 – 6 weeks to treat the remaining breast tissue.

Radiation is delivered to the affected breast in some cases, to the lymph nodes under the arm or above the collarbone. Most women who have a small, early-stage tumor are excellent candidates for this approach. A potential problem with radiation therapy is that women who have cancer of the left breast may be at risk for heart disease from radiation treatment. This is because the left breast is closer to the heart which means it may be in the radiation field. If the heart receives radiation during breast cancer treatment women may be at greater risk for coronary heart disease.

-Cleveland Clinic