Breathing technique could help women beat breast cancer

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WOMEN could help increase their chances of surviving breast cancer using a breathing technique.

The straightforward method could save the lives of more women with cancer in the left breast, according to one of the largest studies of its kind conducted by Cancer Partners UK.

Spirometry-monitored Deep Inspiration Breath-Hold (DIBH) is a simple technique where a patient takes a deep breath to lift their chest cavity away from their heart while radiotherapy is delivered directly at their tumour.

South Downs radiotherapy centre in Havant offers this straightforward technique where patients are required to hold their breath for short periods while the radiotherapy is administered.

Cancer Partners UK compared spirometry-monitored DIBH plans with conventional free-breathing plans to assess the difference in the radiation dose received in the heart in 296 patients receiving radiotherapy for left-sided breast cancer between February 2013 and September 2014.

The results showed that the use of DIBH radiotherapy significantly reduces radiation to the heart and surrounding critical organ tissue in the chest.

Claire White, who was treated at the medical centre in Havant, said: ‘I was so pleased that I was able to accomplish the technique and continue to do it every day as part of the treatment.’

More information can be found at cancerpartnersuk.org