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Radiation Oncology Blog

A Blog for Radiation Oncology
Keyword: radiation oncology

Radiation therapy for left-sided breast cancers confers a measurable dose of radiation to the heart, which is located on the left side of the chest. When radiation therapy comes in contact with the heart, coronary artery disease becomes a long-term risk for patients. Many patients with early stage breast cancer will be long-term survivors, for these patients it is especially important to lower morbidity associated with late treatment.

Deep Inspiration Breath Hold is a new technique of radiation delivery that has shown to decrease the dose of radiation therapy to heart. In this technique, the patient takes in a deep breath of air and holds their breath for 15 to 22 seconds. As the lungs expand with air, the heart is naturally pushed down and away from the chest wall, and subsequently, the left breast. The physical displacement of the heart from the treatment area results in lower heart doses during the course of radiation therapy, specifically left-sided breast cancers. The degree to which the heart is displaced from the chest wall is defined at the time of consultation and varies based on an individual’s anatomy and lung capacity. During the administration of radiation therapy, a patient’s treatment position and breathing are monitored in real time to ensure accuracy of treatment delivery.

MUSC Radiation Oncology now offers this technique to all appropriate patients with left-sided breast cancers as a means of lowering long-term treatment related cardiac morbidity. The physician will determine if an individual patient is a candidate for the Deep Inspiration Breath Hold technique during treatment planning.

Available at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center in downtown Charleston, TrueBeamTM STx offers patients an advanced radiation treatment that may minimize interruption to normal daily lifestyles, with treatment sessions lasting about 20 minutes or less.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is one type of treatment TrueBeam STx is capable of delivering. Patients treated with SBRT receive one to five outpatient treatments and can return to their regular activities immediately following each session. The accuracy of treatment may reduce side effects associated with other forms of treatment. Learn more about the top benefits in the infographic below.

Benefits of TrueBeam Technology

Dr. Jennifer Harper is a radiation oncologist at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, as well as an associate professor at MUSC.Dr. Jennifer Harper

She is certified by the American Board of Radiology and focuses on the treatment of breast cancer, palliative care and head and neck cancer. Dr. Harper serves as a member of the multidisciplinary head and neck cancer team.

Her teaching efforts have been recognized by the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology. She has also received an MUSC Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award.

In addition to having a clinical interest in Gamma Knife radiosurgery, a noninvasive treatment for brain tumors and functional brain disorders, Dr. Harper specializes in breast cancer and its treatment. She has published extensive clinical research on the topic of accelerated partial breast irradiation.

Dr. Harper sees patients regularly at Hollings Cancer Center’s Mount Pleasant location, which recently debuted new technology to treat patients. Treatment of breast cancer and prostate cancer are two key focus areas for Dr. Harper and the multidisciplinary team of doctors who treat patients at Hollings Cancer Center.

Learn more about Dr. Harper here or read about Hollings Cancer Center’s Comprehensive Breast Care Program, the only South Carolina breast center accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) and also affiliated with a National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer center.

Hollings Cancer Center Mt. PleasantNew technology installed at the Medical University of South Carolina Hollings Cancer Center’s Mount Pleasant location now offers improved imaging capabilities for patients, as well as several types of external beam radiation therapy. TrueBeamTM is an advanced cancer treatment system offering the latest radiation therapy techniques, including new imaging features that increase precision and accuracy of radiation delivery. The first patient will be treated in early January.

A free open house event will be held on Thursday, February 12 from 4:30 p.m. -7 p.m. at Hollings Cancer Center/Mt. Pleasant at 1180 Hospital Drive. The event will feature demonstrations of the new technology, and refreshments and beverages will be provided. The public is welcome to attend.

Regarding the newly installed technology in Mt. Pleasant, Dr. Jennifer Harper, MUSC associate professor and radiation oncologist, says:

“The new TrueBeam system in Mt. Pleasant reflects our commitment to ensure patients are treated with the most advanced technology supported by clinical research and provides another access point for patients and their families to get expertise from MUSC physicians in a community location. With the TrueBeam’s treatment and imaging capabilities and availability of other important cancer services such as mammograms in the Mt. Pleasant community, breast and prostate cancer will be focus areas of treatment for us at this location. We anticipate Hollings Cancer Center/Mt. Pleasant evolving into a destination for breast and prostate cancer treatment.”

Patients are currently being accepted for TrueBeam consultations. Call 843-876-8411 to request more information and find out if you or a loved one may be a candidate for TrueBeam treatment.

MUSC Hollings Cancer Center’s new TrueBeamTM STx technology will make its debut next week. We are very excited to offer this highly advanced cancer treatment option to our patients.

TrueBeam STx is used to treat malignant and benign tumors in various parts of the body without incisions or sedation. TrueBeam STx treatments are neither surgery nor traditional radiation therapy.

TrueBeam STx provides several benefits for patients, particularly those seeking an alternative to surgery or conventional radiation therapy. Key advantages of the treatment include:

  • Noninvasive, no incisions
  • No anesthesia or hospitalization required
  • Painless
  • Five or fewer outpatient treatment sessions
  • Little to no recovery time
  • Allows for an immediate return to daily activities
  • Minimal, if any, side effects due to pinpoint precision of high dose radiation delivery
  • Minimal radiation exposure to healthy tissue surrounding a tumor

Wondering if you could be a candidate for TrueBeam STx treatment? Contact us to schedule a consultation.