Patients at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, can now benefit from a new treatment board that enables them to receive radiation therapy while lying down on their stomachs in the prone position, providing a more efficient radiation delivery during breast cancer treatment.
This particular treatment board allows patients to assume a comfortable position while the breast tissue can fall away from the chest wall, permitting the radiation to target the cancer while avoiding possible radiation injury to healthy heart and lung tissue.
“The prone board allows gravity to pull the breast away from the chest wall, and create a more uniform shape that we can distribute the dose of radiation through evenly,” Dr. Julia White of Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute and one of the researchers involved in the development of this platform, said in a news release. “With this board, we can keep the radiation in front of the ribs, so we don’t even need to go into the thoracic cavity and skim the lung and heart.”
There is a bean bag that can be adapted to every individual patient’s shape, and utilized to immobilize their arms throughout treatment. Furthermore, the adapted board can extend off the treatment table, allowing enough room for the radiation beam to fully rotate around the patient.
There have been several long-term problems associated to the shape of the affected breast, after radiation treatment, with positive cosmetic results observed in only 60 to 70% of all breast cancer cases.
“By turning a woman over onto her stomach, we can treat the breast underneath the board and reduce the risk of the treatment leaving permanent effects,” added Dr. White. “We found that we are able to have a really good rate of a good cosmetic outcome in 80-to-90 percent of the women who go through this treatment.”
Dr. White explained that the majority of women who can benefit from the prone-position breast board are those who had their breast cancer diagnosed at an early phase, and who underwent lumpectomy and want to leave their affected breast as cosmetically intact as possible.