What to know when preparing for radiation with Vision RT
Guest writer Lisa Sweeney leads the patient education campaign for Vision RT, a company that makes advanced, precision radiation technology. She is driven to help empower breast cancer patients with information and resources to help them get the most accurate and safe radiation treatment.
Meet Vision RT, a radiation technology company, who makes AlignRT a cutting-edge, heart-safe option for radiation therapy
Vision RT's mission is to develop pioneering technology to enhance treatment efficacy, safety, and patient comfort. They believe every patient deserves to know about their treatment options and have invested in a patient education campaign to educate patients about radiation treatment and their advanced technology.
What should patients know when planning for radiation treatment?
The main thing is the importance of protecting your heart. When I first started working at Vision RT, I didn’t realize (and I don’t think many left-breast cancer patients realize) that that the heart may be exposed to radiation during treatment. This exposure can cause potentially serious cardiac side effects after treatment. In one study, 27% of patients showed heart abnormalities after their treatment. The good news is there is a technique called Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) and used along with AlignRT can help minimize these side effects. The second issue surrounds the marks and permanent tattoos that have been a part of the radiation treatment process for so many years. Now, because of advances in technology, tattoos and marks are no longer needed and tattoo and mark-free treatment are available.
What advances have there been in radiation treatment that will directly impact breast cancer patients?
Positioning and Monitoring Technology is an important one. Technology is constantly advancing to improve the safety and accuracy of radiation. Accuracy is so important when getting radiation treatment because you want to treat cancer but protect the surrounding healthy tissue and organs. AlignRT is an advanced technology that can help ensure that you are set up precisely and constantly monitored during your treatment to ensure your cancer is treated safely and precisely.
As I mentioned earlier, Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) is a technique used along with AlignRT by many top cancer centers to help protect your heart. DIBH is where you take a deep breath and hold it during treatment. By doing this you move your breast tissue away from your heart and reduce the risk of heart radiation exposure. AlignRT is an advanced technology that can help ensure you are set up precisely with sub-millimeter accuracy and has an automated safety system that can pause the radiation beam if you move out of the desired position during treatment to help ensure accurate and safe treatment.
Best advice for patients who need radiation treatment?
Do everything you can to be as informed as you can about your treatment options. Getting treatment at a center that does Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) along with AlignRT can help minimize the long-term side effects of treatment.
You have created the SaferRadiationTherapy.com patient site. What was the purpose of this site?
We wanted to do everything in our power to educate and support patients and caretakers as they worked to navigate treatment options. SaferRadiationTherapy.com is a patient education website that provides valuable information about radiation treatment and the latest techniques and technology. We answer some of the most frequently asked questions and share insightful stories from cancer patients and survivors. There are a variety of helpful resources, including a doctor discussion guide and a treatment locator to help you find a center with AlignRT near you.
What do patients wish they had known before their treatment?
Breast cancer patients have often said that they wish they had known about the potential cardiac side effects and the new techniques and technologies that can help prevent them before they got their treatment.
Are there tattoo-free techniques to radiation therapy?
Many patients share that they would prefer tattoo or mark-free treatment. Some women feel that radiation tattoos are a constant reminder of their cancer experience, one that they would prefer not to have. The tattoos are often in very visible places on the body and may be seen when they wear a lower-cut dress or shirt. Patients who get temporary marks during their treatment have shared that they found them to be a nuisance and inconvenient, they must be kept from one treatment to another and require the patient to be super careful when bathing, swimming, or exercising. One study conducted by the Young Survival Coalition found that 78% of patients would prefer tattoo and mark-free treatment and patients would be willing to travel +45 miles to get a tattoo and mark-free treatment. It is a huge win for patients that tattoo and mark-free treatment is now available.
At AnaOno, we would love to thank the hard work and dedication that Vision RT gives to our cancer community, and their effort to improve care and support to those diagnosed with breast cancer.
"We partner with companies we believe in and trust in the spirit of trying to educate breast cancer patients about the latest technologies and products available. AnaOno is a wonderful company with a mission and value system we align with and respect."
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