Some patients receiving radiation therapy for left breast cancer at the BMC Cancer Center are taught the Deep Inspiration Breath Hold Technique.
Planning for radiation therapy treatment includes protecting areas of the body that do not need radiation exposure. One of the ways that we can protect your heart is to use a technique called Deep Inspiration Breath Hold. In some people, when they hold their breath after taking a deep breath, their heat moves deeper into their chest and moves away from the radiation beam.
If those patients hold their breath while the treatment is administered, their heart will receive very little or no radiation dose. The effect on your heart from being exposed to radiation treatment can be discussed with your doctor. Please ask your Radiation Oncologist to talk more about these issues with you if you have any questions.
Breath holding should be practiced to make it most effective. The process for holding your breath is as follows:
Take a deep breath in and let it out completely
Take a deep breath and hold it for 45 seconds
Use a stop watch or a second hand on a watch to time your breath hold
Breathe normally for at least 5 minutes before attempting a second breath hold.
Practice this at least four times a day between now and the day you begin your radiation treatment. The amount of time that you can hold your breath will increase as you practice. Remember, you can only do your best. Breathe normally if you feel light-headed or dizzy.