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Heart Sparing Breast Radiotherapy

The Problem

"Studies have shown that exposure of the heart to radiation during radiotherapy for breast cancer increases the subsequent rate of heart disease." (

During free breathing, the heart is close to the chest wall and part of it will be included in the radiation field. This can lead to long term side effects on the heart such as increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Heart Sparing Breast Radiotherapy

Source: Peter MacCallam Cancer Centre

Technological Solution

At our centre, we want to help you protect your heart. We utilise special equipment to track your breathing and reduce dose to your heart. 


The Active Breathing Coordinator™ (ABC) device helps the patient to hold her breath comfortably and consistently during radiotherapy treatment so that her chest wall is consistently expanded away from the heart. Used during left-sided breast radiotherapy, this helps to minimise radiation effects on the heart.

Heart Sparing Breast Radiotherapy

Using DIBH, patients are instructed to inhale deeply, this moves the heart away from the chest wall and reduces the dose to the heart. In this way, we are able to protect the heart from receiving a higher dose of radiation and in turn, minimise the risk of the long-term side effects on the heart.

Heart Sparing Breast Radiotherapy
Heart Sparing Breast Radiotherapy


The oculus is a virtual reality headset that can be worn by patients to visualise their breathing pattern. This allows the patient to track their breathing and know when to inhale and exhale. In this way, patients are reassured that they have expanded their chest wall sufficiently to protect their heart from the radiation.

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