My sister, Diann, recently finished Radiation for Stage 3 breast cancer of the left breast. One reason she drove 120 miles round trip daily for 7 weeks was that a newer technology called “Deep Inspiration Breath Hold” was available. This technique helps protect the heart and lungs from radiation while the left breast area is being treated. The patient dons scuba-like gear and has to hold their breath for 10 to 25 seconds periodically during the radiation process so the chest wall pulls away from the heart and lungs and thus, the radiation stays away from the heart and lungs as well.
When I had radiation three and a half years ago, also for left breast cancer, I did not have this, nor did I know it existed. This is a marvelous breakthrough to help women prevent heart and lung damage. I suffer from both heart and lung damage from cancer treatment, so I am grateful my sister was able to have this technology.
If you need radiation for left breast cancer, I would URGE you to seek out this type of radiation treatment. It will most likely take some research on your part, but it will be well worth it. I hear from so many women that have heart damage years later because of radiation damage. Just this week, I spoke to a 77 year old woman who needed a valve transplant due to damage 10 years after radiation for left breast cancer.
This picture of Diann shows her with the apparatus– the interactive device between patient and radiation. Notice the glasses as well. The patient interacts with the radiation technicians and the computer screen which is visible to the patient through the glasses.
This following is a terrific video from the United Kingdom that explains in simple terms more about this technology. PLEASE take this into consideration before you get radiation for left breast cancer!